Friday, July 3, 2020

Former CLNCC President praises Meyer for Environmental Stewardship

From the Facebook page of Jordyn Pusey, former President of the Civic League of New Castle County and Candidate for County Council. We at Ogletown Resilience and the former Save The Orphanage Property (STOP) Campaign were shocked and dismayed to see her enthusiastic endorsement of County Executive Matt Meyer as an 'environmentalist'. The hypocrisy is staggering. There are simply no words that can describe the moral repugnance of Matt Meyer, an anti-environmentalist and ally of the building industry. But Ms. Pusey tries. For those with a Facebook account, you can read her post here, set for public viewing. Excerpts:

"Sustainability is both an immediate and long term goal, and we must support those who are following in [Russell] Petersons footsteps and presenting ambitious environmental policies of their own, as well as promoting equity and inclusion.

Matt Meyer has shown through his GreeNCC agenda that he is fully committed to protecting our environment for future generations. The County is leading by example in implementing best practices and policies that will have an impact on our water and natural environment while enhancing the quality of life for all of us. In my years of involvement in County government, I have never seen such a focus and dedication to the environment. The goals are as follows:
  • Enhance water and air quality;
  • Encourage healthy and eco-friendly lifestyles;
  • Conserve and protect local habitats;
  • Promote smart growth; Reduce harmful emissions by promoting renewables and improving energy efficiency.
Moreso, in today's political climate, it's imperative that we have leaders that exemplify our highest values and are in office for the right reasons; primarily the desire to serve others. We cannot discount the moral and ethical nature in which the Meyer administration has governed. That starts from the top, but the quality and talent of the entire administration shines brightly."

The Meyer Administration has shown itself to be corrupt and immoral from the time he was elected in Nov 2016. When Meyer formed his Transition Teams in January 2017, he put the very Developer who stood to profit from the Orphanage Property, Joseph Setting, in charge of the Parks Transition Team -- whose task was prioritizing parkland for New Castle County. He also appointed a land use attorney from the legal firm (Tarbicos) representing the Felician Sisters of N. America, those selling the Orphanage Property. Although STOP lodged a formal complaint pleading a conflict of interest given Setting stood to gain financially from developing the Orphanage Property, the NCC Ethics Commission (whose members are appointed by Meyer himself) dismissed it. They refused to hold Meyer accountable for this gross injustice and clear conflict of interest, even though STOP had presented objective evidence, and Community outrage against this injustice, to support our charge.

For the record, Saving the Orphanage Property (STOP) was a three year grassroots campaign (2015-2018) to save the last significant open space in Ogletown, Delaware, the Our Lady of Grace 180 acre Orphanage Property, for a regional park. This was the last chance for the community of Ogletown-S. Newark to fulfill and live the vision promised by Gov Ruth Ann Minner's Livable Delaware initiative. Livable Delaware proposed that we must control suburban sprawl and channel development to previously used or vacant land; that every Delawarean have local, ready and convenient access to healthy outdoor activities and parkland. Ogletown-S. Newark does NOT currently have access to parkland within biking and walking distance for most, and now never will thanks to Meyer and his Democratic cohorts in Legislative Hall. The effort was crushed and defeated by government corruption on the part of New Castle County (NCC) and State elected legislators with financial ties to development interests, and this newly elected pro-development County Executive Matt Meyer. STOP and Community residents watched hopelessly as he, along with Senator Bryan Townsend, Rep Ed Osienski, and Councilwoman Lisa Diller allowed this one-time chance to slip away forever.


It is ironic, because the Civic League of NCC , led by Ms. Pusey as President, supported STOP, and even granted a Resolution to back it. For Ms. Pusey to now openly endorse Meyer as an environmental steward and praise him for his efforts to "Encourage healthy and eco-friendly lifestyles, and Conserve and protect local habitats" while he has done anything but, is insulting and a slap in the face. She not only insults the Advocates who worked tirelessly for years to save the Orphanage Property, but obviously doesn't care about the creatures who inhabited it, the innocent wildlife -- many threatened or endangered -- who lost their lives as the bulldozers came through killing everything in their wake, replacing flora and fauna, open space and woods with the urbanized human footprint. Land in its natural state, containing critical habitat area according to DNREC , that also included the last open space suitable for a regional park and trail system, gone forever. The last significant open space in the region went from carbon sequestering and lush biodiversity, to asphalt and thousands more car trips per day on Route 4 and the countless tons of carbon emissions this produces. One can only question Ms. Pusey's motives for this support of  Meyer, given her own record of Community service and sacrifice.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Guardian: Millions of Americans lack access to quality parks

The Ogletown-S.Newark region will never have
a regional park, thanks to profiteering.
Cross-posted from The Guardian

By Nina Lakhani | Years of patchy investment in public parks has left 100 million Americans, including 27 million children, without access to decent nearby green spaces during the coronavirus lockdown, a new report reveals.

Local parks have been a godsend to many people during the pandemic as schools, gyms and walking trails have closed to minimize physical contact and curtail the spread of the virus.

Multiple studies have shown that spending time in green spaces reduces stress and improves physical and psychological wellbeing for adults and children.

But the annual parks score index by the Trust for Public Land (TPL) has revealed wide disparities in access. For instance 98% of residents in Washington, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, are within a 10-minute walk to a park, compared to less than 50% of those in cities like Charlotte, North Carolina, Mesa, Arizona, and Oklahoma City. [Full Article . . . ]

See also:
Senator Townsend and Democrat Cohorts Say No "Naturehood" for Ogletown
CDC: Mental Health and (lack of) Green Space
The Biggest Legacy of Townsend and his "Democratic" Cohorts?
Privilege Has Its Rewards, Parts 1, 2, 3 ...

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Hypocrisy of Earth Day Celebrations in New Castle County

Nobody was "in it together" when it came to saving the
Orphanage Property on Rt.4 in Ogletown.
Environmental destruction in the form of disappearing green space, critical habitat loss, wetlands destruction, and a dearth of locally accessible parkland and commons is plainly visible throughout New Castle County. Because both State and County Legislatures (majority Democrat) are corrupt and put wealth and profits before people and planet, don't expect anything to change -- even in the worst clutches of climate change, disease and related disasters. Yet, we see articles like this appear every April:

Celebrate The 50th Anniversary Of Earth Day Today, Delaware!

Excerpts from the article, from DNREC:
  • While people celebrating our planet won’t be able to gather together as we have in past years, it has never been more important to renew our commitment to protect the environment and redouble our resolve for sustainable change. 
  • We must maintain our state’s natural spaces and vital natural resources for future generations.
  • But, it’s not too late to pass clean air, water and land on to our children and grandchildren. That is our job at the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, but everyone can and should do our part to make that happen. [Full Article . . .]

Instead of celebrating Earth Day as one day of action each year, we urge our readers to join the Delaware Nature Society and volunteer and/or get involved in their programs. According to their mission: Delaware Nature Society’s mission is to connect people with the natural world to improve our environment through education, advocacy and conservation. We envision a healthy and sustainable environment.

And, unlike these other sham organizations, they delivered on this promise with their immediate endorsement -- no questions asked -- of saving the Orphanage Property as a regional park for Ogletown-S Newark.

Just getting started. Clear cutting forest canopy and destroying wildlife habitat for huge housing developments is a common sight in NCC. And contrary to anything sustainable or eco-friendly, most are located far from local services, commerce, and are deliberately disconnected from adjacent communities thus requiring cars for every trip. The land goes from carbon sequestering and a flora-fauna refuge to usurping wildlife and emitting mass amounts of heat trapping emissions. Meanwhile, unless privileged, State and County legislators refuse to champion saving any of it in favor of developer profits, even when the last regional park opportunity is on the line.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

BOYCOTT Sierra Club's Earth Day Live Events

As our readers are all too aware, the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club would not support or endorse the effort to Save the Orphanage Property (STOP) as critical habitat area, a wildlife refuge and regional park for Ogletown-S. Newark. We urge all of our readers to see through the facade and the fraudulence of Sierra Club, and to ignore all of their events including Earth Day. Alternatives can be found, including this one with Delaware Estuary.

The below article is from 2011, but nothing has changed since. Corporatist money has no place in non-profit environmental organizations -- whether that be at the national, state or local levels. This article explains why, after repeated asks for Sierra's endorsement of STOP, their reply was "this isn't something we generally do". Ditto from DE Audubon Society, given they too are a national org and thus accepting of corporate payoffs and kickbacks.

Excerpts:
  • According to the Associated Press, in 2002 Sierra Club head Carl Pope threatened to dissolve the southern Utah chapter for “speaking out against the Bush administration’s push toward war with Iraq.”  The Sierra Club’s Board of Directors had passed a resolution “supporting efforts to strip Iraq of weapons of mass destruction” (i.e., supporting the war) ...
  • This is the first time in Sierra Club’s 116-year history that it has endorsed a product and even Club executive director Carl Pope, who’s been a driving force in the partnership, admitted that the decision by a well-known environmental group to endorse a company known for its bleach, plastics, and chemical products is “controversial.”
  • Until progressive groups successfully address the challenge of funding themselves independent of the elite individuals and institutions that act as enforcers of a corporate agenda, they will not be able to successfully advocate for progressive causes. Any success they might have will mean that their funding dries up, and they will cease to exist.
  • The Sierra Club is a marquee name that has indeed gone for the green:  cash.  Environmental activists should carefully examine the way in which the organization is operating, and whether its agenda is worthy of continued support.

STOP to Delaware's Environmental Organizations: Epic Fail


Do you support environmental conservation in Delaware? Support and donate to the Delaware Nature Society. DNC, along with a dozen other local and State orgs, didn't hesitate and immediately jumped on board to help save the Orphanage Property.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Another lost park opportunity in Ogletown?

Current owners according to NCC's GIS.
Price paid was $204,000.
Though only a fraction of the size of the Orphanage Property, a forested 8 acre tract to the north of Harmony Woods (straddling Red Mill Road and Ruthar Drive) is now in the earliest stages of development planning. Are Senator Jack Walsh, Rep David Bentz and Councilman Tim Sheldon about to spring a major land-use plan on their constituents in the same manner as Legislators Townsend, Osienski and Diller in the 11th hour? Veiled in secrecy and corruption, the first trio sprung the Chestnut Hill so-called "Preserve" on Route 4 after it was too late to stop it, forever denying their constituents the chance at a regional park.

Why a church is going to build in this location defies common sense and the health and needs of the greater good. An organization with a mission of righteousness shouldn't bulldoze and pave over land in its natural state when there are countless suitable vacant, abandoned, and/or otherwise unused pre-developed properties around New Castle County. We are facing a catastrophic loss of biodiversity and need to do everything possible to protect what little habitat remains. Acquiring it for parkland (or even just a nature preserve) is one of the most popular ways in which to do so.

Built from the '70s through late '80s, Harmony Woods is one of the largest housing developments in Greater Newark. This 8 acre parcel of land represents a magnificent opportunity for a park, albeit a fraction of the size of what could have been "Ogletown Park" on Route 4 closer to S. Newark. At least one of these Legislators should investigate feasibility (what it would take) to bring even the slightest possibility of local park access, pathways and place-making to a region of their districts that has been grossly disenfranchised in this manner. Looking down from orbit, just like the Orphanage Property, it appears the last opportunity before all bordering lands are developed.

8 acres in this location would never be a regional park, and could never replace the Orphanage Property given the shear size comparison. However, this parcel is big enough for a community park and destination, which again, Harmony Woods (at least) does hot have. Most of its forested canopy could be maintained in this scenario.

Will the above 3 Legislators -- Walsh, Bentz, and/or Sheldon, act? We're not holding our breath. They, like Senator Townsend and Rep Osienski, are similarly weighted with developer interests, as evidenced from their campaign contributions. Mr Walsh himself is heavily involved in Union and Economic Development interests, and would probably put development projects like this first before saving the environment. Yet, once an opportunity like this vanishes, never will it return. You can view Mr Walsh's bio HERE.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Destruction of Habitat, Loss of Biodiversity, and COVID-19

Cross-posted from Bryan-Townsend.com. We wish everyone well in these trying times.
Sen Townsend and son: Goodbye to the Orphanage Property, and the hopes
of Ogletown-S. Newark for a regional park and wildlife conservation..
It is one thing that Govt leaders like Delaware's Senator Bryan Townsend, Rep Ed Osienski, and their minions on New Castle County Council e.g. Lisa Diller criminally deny place-making and local park access to entire regions of the State. It's another thing that they routinely ignore citizens socio-economic needs based on class -- across vast swaths of their constituencies -- while lavishing favor on others of higher status. But their biggest "legacy" of all may just be the current state of affairs with COVID-19: Our grossly degraded ecology, climate change, the mass die-off of species, and the catastrophic loss of natural lands and biodiversity that is surely connected to the Coronavirus pandemic situation we are now facing. This is from Ensia, on March 17. Excerpts:

Only a decade or two ago it was widely thought that tropical forests and intact natural environments teeming with exotic wildlife threatened humans by harboring the viruses and pathogens that lead to new diseases in humans like Ebola, HIV and dengue.

But a number of researchers today think that it is actually humanity’s destruction of biodiversity that creates the conditions for new viruses and diseases like COVID-19, the viral disease that emerged in China in December 2019, to arise — with profound health and economic impacts in rich and poor countries alike. In fact, a new discipline, planetary health, is emerging that focuses on the increasingly visible connections among the well-being of humans, other living things and entire ecosystems. [Read the full article . . . ]

One has to wonder what Mr Townsend -- a new father of one with more on the way -- will tell his own children, and future generations, when the record points to his deliberate participation in our socio and environmental demise. How will he explain his prioritization of developer interests over naturehood; of failing to protect local and regional open space and land conservation efforts, and opening up Delaware's coastal zone to heavy industrial development? He will need to explain somehow that this "economic development" and short-term profits were more important than their health, safety and a livable future.

Hence, the mission of this page: Clearly, Senator Bryan Townsend's actions are NOT in the best interests of future generations, and we will hold him (and his Democrat party colleagues) responsible at the local, regional and State level.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

"Land Preservation Task Force" an insult to Ogletown-S. Newark

Attending the March 2nd meeting of the Harmony Woods Civic Association, New Castle County's Dist 9 Councilman Tim Sheldon spoke about the importance of the the newly formed "Land Preservation Task Force". Among their proposals was a 1-3% tax increase to fund open space acquisition, to be authorized via on-line voting. We were quick to point out the loss of the Orphanage Property, which represented the last significant open space in vast Ogletown-S. Newark region. This was the only opportunity for a regional park that would have included an interconnecting trail system. That opportunity was thrown away due to rampant corruption on the part of County and State Govt.

For the record, Saving the Orphanage Property (STOP) was a three year grassroots campaign (2015-2018) to save the last significant open space in Ogletown, Delaware, for a regional park. A host of other reasons -- some critical -- also existed for why the land should have been preserved, and was not suitable for development. However, the effort was crushed and defeated by government corruption on the part of New Castle County (NCC) and State elected legislators with financial ties to development interests, and a newly elected pro-development County Executive.

Therefore, we cannot in good conscience support Mr Sheldon's open space "preservation taskforce" sham. Due to the blatant dissing of an already heavily disenfranchised region of NCC in Ogletown-S. Newark, in the interest of equity and fairness, what choice is there? Our taxes will be paying to fund other region's open space desires after ours was given to profiteering and corruption. This is grossly unfair and only serves to enable selective choice of open space needs based on privilege and status.

You many contact councilman Timothy Sheldon via email here: tpsheldon@nccde.org. Note that Mr Sheldon voted YES to developing the Orphanage Property (Chestnut Hill so-called "Preserve") instead of bringing Ogletown a regional park.

No more chances left. Putting their campaign donors and builder profits first, Legislators Townsend, Osienski, and Diller threw away the last open space and regional park opportunity for Ogletown-S. Newark. Watch video HERE.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The folly of Bryan Townsend, in one letter

Cross-posted from Bryan-Townsend.com

As Senator Townsend (along with cohorts Rep Osienski and NCC's Diller) goes around telling everyone that the loss of the Orphanage Property wasn't his fault, and that he exhausted everything in his effort to save it, nothing could be farther from the truth. It is very important to keep this at the forefront, given Mr Townsend's gross talent as a politician, liar and con-artist.

Nothing can change the fact that Senator Townsend knew years in advance that the Felician Sisters were looking to build, yet he NEVER brought this to the public and Advocate's attention. Each time someone would confront him with this fact, his go-to answers were "we didn't think it would happen" or "we didn't think the Sisters could get a plan approved" or "we did mention it at local civic meetings" (meetings that virtually nobody attends).

FACT: Mr Townsend knew of the threat of development in 2013, well before the plans were drawn up and the regional park alternative was FAR more achievable. He should have immediately recognized the invaluable opportunity before him, to do something great for his district and his constituents. He should have realized Ogletown-S. Newark (i.e. Route 4 corridor) was in need of its own regional park, instead of having to drive 20 min to Glasgow and Pike Creek. HE didn't do that, he didn't see the need for this invaluable open space as a public asset, because that would fly in the face of his donor interests in the building industry.

FACT: Townsend-Osienski DID write this formal letter (image right) to their constituents in Aug of 2018, regarding a "trail opportunity" in what remains of the Orphanage Property woods. No letter was sent in  2013 regarding a potential Regional Park opportunity, that one or both legislators could have easily championed. As it turned out, the "trail "opportunity" ended in failure due to private property, maintenance and liability issues -- and probably future development potential, i.e. Chestnut Hill "Preserve" Phase 2.

Despite such widespread and enthusiastic support for a regional park, no amount of action or visibility on the part of residents and citizens counted toward democracy in Townsend's District 11. And in light of such blatant corruption, neither did the rule of law. It became painfully clear that, from the very beginning, the fate of the Orphanage Property was already sealed. By the time Advocates and the broader public were notified in July 2015, it had advanced to a stage that nobody could stop it.

After 2 years secretly knowing that development plans were underway, Senator Townsend and Rep Osienski grant newly elected New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer full discretion and negotiating rights over saving the Orphanage Property as a regional park. By this time, plans for the Chestnut Hill "Preserve" were already in an advanced state and were destined to happen regardless of legislator input.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Entropy made visible: Bryan Townsend's Senate District 11 on foot

Hypocrite: Townsend on Facebook
Cross-posted from 1st State Bikes and Bryan-Townsend.com

Paradoxically, Senator Townsend (District 11, New Castle County) remains hugely popular among his Ogletown-S. Newark constituents despite his colossal failure as a legislator and representative of their best interests. But then again, Delawareans in general have a penchant for taking it up the backside, all the while begging for more. They stay loyal to his Facebook page, where Mr Townsend cross-posts environmental issues with a sense of outrage, and what appears genuine anger and remorse toward our planet's death spiral under the Trump administration. There is simply no end to the lies and con-artistry this man is capable of, given his dismal record as a State Senator right here in Delaware. The hypocrisy is staggering, as charity is supposed to "begin" at home.

Not only is Mr Townsend one of the worst environmental enemies (as chronicled on this page -- see "Top Articles" series in the right column) to serve office in any State, he also has zero interest in quality of life and green transportation that includes walking and biking. His district IS entropy made visible, with infrastructure at least as bad or worse than most 3rd world countries.

And where is Bike Delaware on this issue? Nowhere, that's where. Here are a few local examples, found just in Ogletown, that make critical connections between communities, circumventing arterials roads:

"Pathway" connecting Cherokee Woods with Our Redeemer Church/Chestnut Hill Estates.
"Bike Path" along Route 4, in front of the Christina Early Education Center. Zero maintenance or repair.
"Curb ramp" and pathway between Ogletown Rd and Route 4 at D&H Jamaican. Not only is this not ADA-compliant, it has never been maintained in any way, much less rehabbed or resurfaced.
Pathway connecting Todd Estates/Newark Oaks/Brookside to Jennie Smith ES and George Kirk MS. This facility is very heavily relied upon by school children walking and biking to school, easily the healthiest thing a child can and should engage in. Most who use it walk or bike through the adjacent driveway instead, before reconnecting near the trip hazard (below) further up.
Also along the pathway connection above; a major tripping hazard, the result of settling concrete slabs and zero maintenance or repair.
Death trap: Posted speed limit of 50
mph 
(55-60 prevailing) in front of 
Ogletown area schools.
This is what you can expect under failed leadership, in this case Senator Townsend and cohort Rep Ed Osienski, along with their NCC Democratic colleague Lisa Diller. The trio -- most influential among them Townsend -- also could have gifted their districts a regional park on Route 4 on the former Orphanage Property. Instead, they lied and chose to hide that possibility from Advocates and the broader public for a full 2 years or until such time it was committed to development and couldn't be stopped. All the while, Route 4 is slowly but surely evolving into a Kirkwood Hwy or Route 13, with endless lane expansion projects, installations of overhead lights, clear cutting of trees, and other assaults on community life and place-making.

Despite being one of the most, if not the most disenfranchised regions of the State, these legislators go on enjoying broad support among their constituents, easily defeating their challengers in each election cycle.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Allentown pursues regional park for environmental and economic benefits

Cross-posted from Lehigh Valley Regional News  Because of corruption in DE govt, this hope has been forever dashed in the entire Ogletown S. Newark region, but at least Allentown PA gets it where the value of a park and trail system is concerned. 

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – An obscure tract of Allentown land may help boost the city's environment and economy.

Plans were unveiled Thursday at Allentown City Hall for Auburn Cross Trails Park, covering about 32 acres of land bounded by Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Basin Street and Auburn Street. About two-thirds of the of land is owned by the Allentown Economic Development Corp. and would be used for manufacturing.

The proposal includes trails, open meadows, picnic areas, a dog park and places to fish. The big picture is to move toward connecting to existing trails in the city and the region. The site used to house Allentown's municipal incinerator, which closed decades ago.

"The plan can be broken up into manageable pieces," Chris Stanford of engineering firm Michael Baker International said.

That may be necessary, because the $1 million-plus needed for the park is not available yet, according to Karen El-Chaar, director of Allentown's parks and recreation department.

"This will probably be state-funded," she said, with the city contributing a small amount. [Full Article]

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Bike-Ped Dead: 6 Solid Reasons For Delaware's Dismal Ranking

Even with a flashing beacon, motorists still have
the right of way to continue, at speed, through
DelDOT's crosswalks without penalty -- as long
as peds (and bikes) are side-lined and waiting.
This is a completely backwards approach.
This article originally appeared in 1st State Bikes

Delaware is once again poised for a dismally high position -- if not taking the nation's top spot for walking fatalities again this year. Ditto for bicycling - in a runaway - but we will cover that in a future article. Here, in no particular order, we will examine what we believe are the top 6 reasons for why this is so and will likely never change:

1) Motor vehicle priority and right of way through crosswalks and intersections. Delaware gives motor vehicles priority and right of way through mid-block crosswalks and radial turns, and puts the onus on pedestrians to create his or her own opportunity to cross. This doesn't change even with DelDOT's flashing beacons installed at a few of them; peds are still sidelined, waiting to make the first move -- hoping cars will stop. In no way is this progressive or conducive to pedestrian safety.

The way it should be. With a little enforcement. Mass
sees far greater compliance using this simple sign than
DE will ever see using stick figures and beacons.
2) An antiquated traffic code for pedestrians. There are numerous discrepancies and problems that a complete overhaul of Delaware's vehicle code is LONG overdue. The language is so antiquated that it even includes a holiday as impacting where and how to enforce it, including "soliciting contributions shall not apply on the Saturday immediately prior to Father's Day". Advocates volunteered many hours of time and did an overhaul, presenting it in legislative bill form to Delaware's Pedestrian Council. Ultimately, the State's defacto walking advocacy org, Bike Delaware, infiltrated the Ped Council and quashed the effort.

Crosswalks through highway-speed kill zones.
3) Wide lanes, slip lanes, and unregulated radial turns that induce high speed and discourage defensive driving, even in known pedestrian hot spots. Instead of traditional crossroads, most of Delaware's suburban thoroughfares consist of radial turns to keep motor vehicles moving as quickly as possible through intersections. This seriously compromises pedestrian safety, since the beginning and end of the crosswalk is unregulated and never signalized. As they are induced to maintain speed, motorists seldom yield, and usually just barrel on through even when pedestrians are present. This is not at all conducive to pedestrian safety, and not only adds to the danger, it discourage walking in the first place.

Non-drivers will often create "goat paths", as
the State and its Counties will not seek out and
try and include these important connections
with area rehab & reconstruction projects.
4) Very few pathway facilities that make safe connections between existing communities, commerce, and civil services. Lack of connectivity in development codes, and an ignorance of livability concerns throughout most of Delaware's planning history have all but sealed the fate of its suburban dwellers. Bike Delaware at one time made mention that connectivity is their mission, which includes piecing together what few streets do connect to try and create low stress networks. But for the vast majority of disconnected and unincorporated suburbs, they have yet to demonstrate how interconnecting pathways can be added without violating private property rights and/or invoking imminent domain -- never mind the exorbitant costs involved. In the end, those walking and biking are inevitably forced out onto arterial roads and their high speed intersections to reach most destinations.

5) An apparently fraudulent "Advocacy" organization in Delaware that will not support reforms, including a bill proposal (see #2 above) to update the traffic code in the interest of safety. "Bike Delaware" lobbies for reforms with priority on new housing construction only, helping developers achieve density waivers. With the occasional bone thrown to seasoned cyclists, they can focus on builder's profits with advocacy for "TOD" (Transit Oriented Development) and have this slip by virtually unnoticed. They ignore even the simplest ideas for retrofitting the built environment and have no record of endorsing open space conservation and park opportunities. Virtually all of their efforts are focused on the more privileged areas of the State including Old New Castle, the home of their Exec Director himself. For the unincorporated and disenfranchised folks who lack open space, bike paths and/or regional park access from home, they have to settle for what's on offer. This includes the high speed arterial roads and highways discussed here, for pleasure activities such as biking, walking and jogging.

6) Very little police presence and law enforcement to begin with. It is no secret that the police in Delaware -- in particular State and County -- are either stretched way too thin or even working without a contract. In what's become a culture of "anything goes", progressive reforms that include, e.g. stronger crosswalk signage with actual fines posted will remain out of the question. Unless a rare sting, the police are never around to actually enforce it, except perhaps in court after an injury or fatality. It is not uncommon at all for residents in unincorporated areas to go weeks or months without seeing a squad car in their region. When everyone knows that they can stretch, bend or break even the most basic laws of civility and predictability, higher crash counts inevitably follow. While the actions of the pedestrian (or bicyclist) is always cited as contributing or not, a gross lack of defensive driving due to paltry driver education, no redundant education, and virtually no law enforcement is a far greater problem overall.

Summary: Though certainly not alone in this, Delaware's built environment is a microcosm of the death and carnage now accepted as "normal" in the U.S. -- normal by placing motor vehicle traffic at human scale. Earlier govt planners, engineers and architects foisted this upon us by trashing livability in favor of "Stroads" that incorporate driveways, streets, parking lots, etc as directly connected to highways. Post WW2 design should have included frontage, service, and ring roads, and other treatments that allow highways to stay just that: relatively uninterrupted carriage ways between larger destinations with ample walking-biking cross-through (tunnel under) opportunities. Now dangerous by design, the State and its Counties (along with their Advisers and Advocates) are unable or unwilling to provide the needed tools and coping strategies.

View the proposed updated Delaware Vehicle Code for Pedestrians in pdf format, that was quashed by Bike Delaware and the Delaware Pedestrian Council with no further discussion. It was crafted by using the best of language from progressive States, e.g. Washington, Oregon, Mass, etc where motorist's respect for non-motorized road users is visibly higher than in Delaware, and the statistics are there to back it.

View the 2018 pedestrian fatality statistics for the whole of the U.S. Delaware took a "rest" from the top 5 in 2018, but is set to return in 2019.

Read an article in Strong Towns comparing Streets, Roads, and "Stroads", and what we can do to eliminate the latter in favor of livable streets and communities.

Watch James Howard Kunstler on YouTube destroy the very notion of cars as human scale.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Senator Bryan Townsend (a time capsule)


Introducing
bryan-townsend.com, an all new web page that will serve as an on-line environment and quality of life time capsule for Senator Bryan Townsend (Delaware's District 11). Here, you can follow the ascension of the State's most prolific con-artist, as he makes his way to the top of the political dung heap, en-route to State Governor or a U.S. Congressional Seat. Already in his young career (38 years old), Mr Townsend has destroyed former Gov Russell Peterson's legacy by selling out Delaware's Coastal Zone to industry. He also refused to champion saving open space and critical habitat area (for both humans and wildlife) right in his own district. He, along with Rep Ed Osienski, denied Ogletown-S. Newark its last chance for its own regional park with open fields and a complete Trails & Pathways network already in place. That he posts articles on social media about the environmental crisis we now face only serves as a mask for his bought and paid-for agenda.

Help us spread the word; please share our posts around the Internet, including on social media, as you see fit.

Friday, August 23, 2019

CDC: Mental Health and (lack of) Green Space

Also appearing in Bryan-Townsend.com

Senator Townsend's taking Chair of the Senate Health, Children, & Social Services committee in 2017 is, once again, hypocrisy at its absolute worst. In this case, Mr Townsend denied a clear, common sense remedy by refusing to champion place-making, green space and a regional park right in his own District 11. An entire region of New Castle County has now lost that opportunity forever, with only more traffic congestion (and road rage) to show for it.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control, the effects of the community design choices we make and the opportunities those choices afford or deny us are only just now beginning to be understood. Such effects not only can influence community members’ physical health but their mental health as well. Effects on mental health can include both increased stress and cognitive impairment, which in turn can have physical health implications. Some of this increased stress can be caused by long and taxing daily commutes necessitated by development patterns that separate our work or school locations from our homes. This increased commuting-related stress may be related to the perceived increases in the rates of “road rage.”
  • Researchers have discovered that when some people who are injured or ill are exposed to open, undeveloped land, also known as green space, they recover faster than others who were not exposed. In another study, researchers examined the cognitive functions of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to determine the effect that the children’s surroundings had on learning and their ability to concentrate. The researchers found that exposure to parks and other green spaces improved the children’s ability to focus and concentrate.
See also: Access to Parks and Open Space by the Institute for Local Government:
  • Residents of neighborhoods that lack park and recreation facilities are more likely to exhibit health disparities. Increasing park acreage and facilities per capita and improving access to existing parks are important ways to support physical activity.
And THIS article, by the Trust for Public Land:
  • Parks and open space outside of cities produce economic benefits as well. Parks attract non-resident visitors who put new dollars into local economies. Proximity to parks and open space enhances the value of residential properties and produces increased tax revenues for communities. Open space captures precipitation, reduces stormwater management costs, and by protecting underground water sources, open space can reduce the cost of drinking water up to ten-fold. Trees and shrubs reduce air pollution control costs. And of course, there is the value to human communities of protecting the habitats of wild creatures who live near us.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

No Shame: Townsend & Osienski lying to the Newark Post

Also appearing in Bryan-Townsend.com

An article appeared in the Newark Post on August 15 about Townsend & Osienski's proposed trail network on what remains of the Orphanage Property wooded section. The two continue to lie -- repeatedly -- about their role in the loss of the land. They both took the stuffed envelopes and knowingly sold out the last and only chance for a regional park and some form of place-making for the Ogletown-S. Newark region. Business interests trumped revitalization, community building, and enhanced property values and that will be their legacy.

Excerpts from the article:

For the second year, trails proposed for the wooded land behind the former Our Lady of Grace Orphanage are stuck in limbo.

“Initially, we thought the area was in need of a county park and that’s why Sen. Bryan Townsend and I did pursue that route with the county,” said State Rep. Ed Osienski. “When that did not happen, we thought that the surrounding communities would still be interested. There are some trails back there that have developed over the years.”

Ultimately, [developer Bob] Sipple decided not to sign the easement due to the changes it required, according to emails obtained by the Newark Post. Sipple did not return a request for comment.

“I think we want to try to keep it for these trails, and if that doesn’t work out, then I think we would have a conversation with the other parts of the Route 4 corridor about what kind of local investments might be helpful to people, ideally from an environmental and leisure perspective,” Townsend said.

Townsend's "Plan" for himself AND Rep Osienski is to try and salvage some form of credibility in the face of blatant corruption that they themselves participated in.

Nothing can change the fact that both knew years in advance that the Felician Sisters were looking to build, and that they NEVER brought it to the public or Advocate's attention. Each time someone would confront them with this fact, they answered "well, we didn't think it would happen" or "we didn't think the Sisters could get a plan approved". Sometimes they even say they did go public, mentioning it at local civic meetings (that are sparsely attended if that). The fact is, THIS is how you go public, as they demonstrated themselves!

What Townsend could have done was recognize the threat of development in 2013, well before the plans were drawn up and the regional park alternative was easily achievable. At least he or Osienski should have immediately understood the invaluable opportunity they had to do something great for their districts and their constituents. THEY didn't do that, they didn't see the need for this invaluable open space as a public asset, because that would fly in the face of their donor interests. So watching as they lie in this manner, and trying and save face with a no-go trail project on private property is laughable at best.

Despite such widespread and enthusiastic support for a regional park, no amount of action or visibility on the part of residents and citizens counted toward democracy in Townsend's District 11 -- and in light of such obvious corruption, the rule of law. It became painfully clear that, from the very beginning, the fate of the land was already sealed. Townsend and his cohort Osienski were well aware in 2013 that development of the Orphanage Property was coming, and kept it a secret from their Constituents for 2 years -- long enough that it was too late to stop it.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Updated "About Us" for Ogletown Resilience

Ogletown Resilience was started as a citizen advocacy campaign with the goal of helping to preserve the environment and quality of life in the S. Newark-Ogletown region. Its signature cause was Save The Orphanage Property (STOP), an activist-led campaign to preserve the last significant open space left in the S. Newark-Ogletown region. The lush forests, fields, wetlands, and critical habitat areas presented the last place-making opportunity and last chance to have its own regional park.

Our suburban built environment relies almost exclusively on cars for even the shortest of trips. That, and the paving of our last green spaces has serious socio-economic consequences for society, including disconnect from nature, social and family life. Our mission to bring some form of self-reliance, community building, and protecting the natural order was defeated by overwhelming corruption among County and State Legislators and policy-makers, as you are about to read in these pages.

The Legislators responsible for this loss will lie, and try to convince you and future generations that they did indeed try to save the 180 acre Orphanage Property from development. However, there is proof, including a detailed dissection of their Timeline, and more importantly, the thought provoking unanswerable facts and questions that were raised that prove their failure to act. If they truly wanted a park, at least one of them would have been a champion for the STOP cause and made it happen. There is plenty of precedent around this State and around the country for similar actions, where the responsible legislator goes on to be immortalized.

For those of you wondering how this page was named, it was inspired at the local level by "Resilience", a national advocacy movement with similar goals with many State Chapters.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Lisa Diller, Matthew Meyer, Edward Osienski, and Bryan Townsend: The Epitome of Corrupt Government in DE


Corruption is a cancer: A cancer that eats away at a citizen's faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity"  ~Joe Biden

For the record, Saving the Orphanage Property (STOP) was a three year grassroots campaign (2015-2018) to save the last significant open space in Ogletown, Delaware, for a regional park. A host of other reasons -- some critical -- also existed for why the land should have been preserved, and was not suitable for development. However, the effort was crushed and defeated by government corruption on the part of New Castle County (NCC) and State elected legislators with financial ties to development interests, and a newly elected pro-development County Executive.

The below fact collection tells the entire story. No actual evidence was ever presented to disprove them. These legislators -- Councilwoman Lisa Diller, Rep Edward Osienski, and Senator Bryan Townsend -- then acted to deceive the electorate prior to the 2018 election, campaigning that they did everything possible to bring a park and place-making (180 acres of trails, critical habitat area, and open space) to Ogletown, and that these facts are in some way "unsubstantiated". All three then went on to resounding victories in their re-election bids, despite the dire environmental and socio-economic consequences.

If any of the 16 facts below -- in BOLD font -- are false or inaccurate, please comment with the evidence and/or proof otherwise, and we will eagerly retract and update this blog.

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 at the very beginning of that time. 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 the Orphanage Property 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). In contempt of the Unified Development Code (UDC), they used driveways, median cut-throughs and residential T streets along Route 4 to fulfill the "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: In a blatant conflict of interest, 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 benefiting 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.

Counciloman Diller, Representative Osienski, and Senator Townsend refuted these facts throughout their 2018 campaigns, through hearsay or by applying their own political spin and/or attorney-speak to these events. Never once were these facts formally contested during STOP’s three year campaign, yet in what appears overwhelming fashion, the people approved of their job performance by re-electing them in a landslide. It should be noted, however, that this landslide (an average 2-1 margin for all three) represented about 20% of their district's citizens; about half are registered voters, and of those, about 2/3 turn out and vote. Then you have their legislative districts that are gerrymandered to ensure out-of-region participation. It is not clear how someone living in chateau country northwest of Newark, or someone living on Orchard Avenue near the University of DE, for example, has the same needs and interests as those living in, say, Brookside or Todd II. But then, the "system" is designed to ensure victory for these politicians, even those who commit the worst crimes against their constituents, because what effects one region likely won't affect the other (re-election chances saved).

Absent were Delaware's key so-called "environmental conservation" and civic organizations, who either refused or could not be bothered with endorsing STOP after repeated appeals to do so. A few including Delaware Nature Society, White Clay Creek Watershed, and even the UAW's CAP Council jumped on board immediately with vocal and written support of three concise Orphanage Property preservation statements. Delaware Audubon, Sierra Club, and Wildlands either declined or ignored the campaign completely. STOP Advocates were also met with resistance from Newark area "environmental" advocacy leaders, who not only didn't support STOP, but were troubled that their email list was used to reach out for endorsements.

Among the few bright spots was the Civic League of New Castle County,
that did endorse STOP. But actual support from that organization fell woefully short and/or turned negative as the campaign struggled late. Vic Singer, their most prominent and respected board member (and 13 years past Chair of the NCC Planning Board) maintained from the outset that Advocates were conducting an "emotional" campaign doomed to failure, instead of "simply" asserting the letter of the law as written in the UDC. According to Singer, the Chestnut Hill "Preserve" could be halted at the 51st NCC building permit. 51 housing units is all that the Unified Development Code allows dispensation for when level of service (LOS) is in failure mode -- as it most definitely is along Route 4 and at its intersections. The truth is, nothing was going to stand in the way of the full development; not Vic Singer; not DelDOT, and certainly not the State legislators, who could have easily secured the funds and stopped this travesty over the 6 years they knew about it. It was completely moot, and served only to create a false sense of hope; once all the key infrastructure elements (streets, curbing, sewer, drainage, etc) were in place, even if Singer was legally correct, a way to complete the entire development would still have to be found. In spite of this difficulty, there were a few on the CLNCC that did work with the STOP campaign when there was actually a chance (before construction began) to stop it, and their efforts were appreciated -- alongside several other citizens, organizations and Advocates that gave a hand.

Given everything written above, the overwhelming odds are that a carefully orchestrated plan was in place to ensure that the Orphanage Property was developed. The Legislators mentioned above, acting on behalf of their campaign donors and/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 didn't need the Ogletown-S. Newark region for positive NCC-wide approval ratings. On the citizen end of things, a few folks residing in the adjacent communities of Todd Estates II and Breezewood were outstanding. But support from fellow Advocates, from so-called "environmentalists", and from local civic groups wasn't even lukewarm. That apathy, combined with rampant government corruption is what cost us this land, and given that, the Ogletown-S. Newark region will forever be at a loss -- a HUGE loss.

People's indifference is the best breeding ground for corruption to grow"
~ Delia Ferreira Rubio


“The politicians are put there to give you the idea you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations that've long since bought and paid for, the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pocket, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and the information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them.” ~ George Carlin


* * * DELAWARE GOVERNMENT, AT ALL LEVELS, IS CORRUPT. MOST OF THE ELECTED, AND MANY IN ITS REGULATORY AND SO-CALLED "OVERSIGHT" AGENCIES ARE CON-ARTISTS AND LIARS, AND ARE SKILLED IN THE ART OF DECEIT FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL GAIN. THOSE WHO BELIEVE THEM ENABLE THEM, AND ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM * * *