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!