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Updated: 28 min 33 sec ago

Echoes of Charlottesville heard in Delco

Thu, 2017-08-17 07:37
The echoes from Charlottesville are reverberating across Delaware County.

First, hundreds gathered Sunday at the Media Courthouse to take a stand against hate.

Then the Haverford Board of Commissioners became the first local municipal ruling body to take official action condemning the actions that unfolded in Virginia. The board voted unanimously to issue a proclamation "strongly condemning the violence, neo-Nazi, racist and anti-Semitic symbols and language used by some of the participants in a white supremacist rally.

Yesterday Delaware County Council joined the chorus, voting to send President Donald Trump a resolution condemning Nazism and racism as an assault, an evil that needs to be decried.

"The promotion of Nazism and racism in the United State of America is an assault on the truth and rights that we, as Ameircans, cherish and for which truths and the rights of millions of Americans fought for during World War II," the resolution states.

Last night nearly 200 hundred people gathered at a Swarthmore church in a show of unity and prayer. They responded to the tiki torch-carrying white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville with fire of their own, lighting candles here in Delco. The message also is being heard in Harrisburg.

State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Lower Merion and Haverford, is asking his 49 fellow state senators to sign on to a resolution condemning "bigotry, violence, and the warped philosophy of neo-Nazis and white supremacists."

Leach is running for the Democratic nomination to face Republican incumbent 7th District congressman U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan.

Both of Delaware County's Republican state senators, Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26, of Springfield, and Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, of Middletown, indicated they will back the resolution.

"The hatred and bigotry perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville was atrocious and cannot be tolerated," Killion said. "I condemn such repulsive behavior. The diversity of the people of this country is what makes us great."

Finally, last night in Philadelphia, thousands hit the streets in what they vowed was a response to white supremacy.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The continuing discussion about Charlottesville

Thu, 2017-08-17 06:56
Almost nothing I've ever written has elicited the kind of response as my blogs and editorials the past few days in the aftermath of the tragic events that took place last weekend in Charlottesville.

I see that as a good thing.

No, not all the comments on Facebook have been especially complimentary.

That's OK, too.

People always seem to think that because I am a newspaper editor, I hold some type of special status when it comes to offering my opinion.

That's the thing about social media. It has become the great equalizer. Yes, I have a voice, but it is only one of many. While that voice appears on our editorial page, once we enter the online world it becomes just one of the chorus of voices that have been heard since Saturday.

Let's keep the conversation going.

That is the only way we're going to resolve the lingering, nagging problems with race that continue to plague this country. I have only one request - which I of course know will be roundly ignored.

Please be civil.

I can handle the name-calling. It goes with the job.

But some of the people who follow me and join in these conversations don't deserve to be attacked simply for stating their beliefs.

And that goes for both sides.

By the way, in case you were wondering, I penned another editorial today on the president's reaction to what happened in Charlottesville. I am guessing a lot of people are going to disagree with me.

You can read it here.

See you on Facebook.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Meet the real Donald Trump

Wed, 2017-08-16 07:51
Forget everything that came out of President Donald Trump's mouth Monday.

The real Donald Trump showed up 24 hours later, apparently spoiling for a fight.

Trump, who had been severely criticized for his weak comments Saturday in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Va., noting that there were problems "on many sides," had tried to make amends Monday when he called out several groups by name, including the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white nationalists.

But 24 hours later, the president apparently had a change of heart.

Trump descended from the gilded upper floors of Trump Towers in Manhattan, purportedly to brief the press on his infrastructure plans.

But the president quickly moved back to the events at Charlottesville, in the process stunning his staff by "going rogue," according to some insiders, veering off script and doubling down on his belief that "both sides" were at fault for the violence that culminated in a man driving his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.

Who knows what his stance is going to be today.

Once again his remarks were met with immediate revulsion. House Speaker Paul Ryan led the Republican charge, stating unequivocally that 'white supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.'

That's what the president doesn't get.

Is it likely that there was some fault on both sides? Absolutely. Video and eyewitnesses appear to show two sides that were itching for a fight - and that's what they got.

What the president fails to understand is that his comments give validation to something most people in this country find abhorrent.

There simply is no place for acceptance of the beliefs espoused by those in the KKK, neo-Nazi or any other white supremacy group.

We demonstrate how great this country is by guaranteeing them the right to peaceably assemble and spout their ugly rhetoric. And we back it up by repudiating them, by noting we are repulse by their presence and find everything they stand for repugnant.

It is why our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers fought Hitler and obliterated his dream of an so-called superior Aryan society.

They were not called the Greatest Generation for nothing. All they did was save the world.

Now this country is being called to do it again.

To save ourselves from those, including the president, who would again empower such hateful, dangerous rhetoric.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Mariner East 2 discussion goes on

Wed, 2017-08-16 07:32
We'll take a quick break from President Trump and Charlottesville to talk about the biggest economic story in the region.

Yes, on our editorial page today we are revisiting the great Mariner East 2 debate.

Last week's agreement between Sunoco Pipeline LP and environmental groups had a little something for everyone.

Residents got assurances of more safeguards and transparency connected to the drilling process. The company got the green light to resume work on the 350-mile span that cuts through wide swaths of western Delaware County and Chester County as it delivers as much as 350,000 barrels a day of ethane, propane and butane to Marcus Hook.

One thing the agreement did not resolve.

That would be the sense of unease and fear many residents have concerning this project.

More than 50 of them showed up at a meeting in Middletown to talk about it.

Don't expect the conversation to end anytime soon.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

President Obama chimes in & manages to sound presidential

Wed, 2017-08-16 07:13
Anyone remember Barack Obama?

He used to be president.

Yes, he was an American citizen, though we might want to check with the current inhabitant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue just to be sure. You never know. That guy seems to change his mind on things every 24 hours.

Obama passed legislation setting up a national health care program. It now bears his name, and has driven Republicans crazy for seven years in their efforts to repeal and replace it. They failed to do so.

Obama has not gone away, it just seems like years - not months - since he was president.

It seems even longer that anything emanating out of Washington, D.C., seemed presidential.

On Saturday, after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., the former president did something that his successor has become somewhat adept at - he took to Twitter to post his thoughts.

This is what he posted:

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion ... People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love ... For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite," he said, quoting former South African President Nelson Mandela.

That message was retweeted 1.2 million times and liked 3 million times as of this morning, in the process becoming the most liked Tweet of all time. Wonder how that will sit with President Trump.

I'm guessing probably about as well as the evidence that the crowd in Washington for the Trump inaugural was smaller than those who arrived to see Obama sworn in as the nation's first African-American president.

More than anything else, the Tweet from President Obama seemed eminently presidential.

How refreshing.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Delco to gather for service in Swarthmore in response to Charlottesville

Wed, 2017-08-16 06:49
While we wait to see what President Trump's stance on what took place in Charlottesville is today, residents in Delaware County will gather tonight to stand against hate.

The Interfaith Council of Southern Delaware County is organizing a prayer service at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Trinity Episcopal Church, College Avenue and Chester Road, in Swarthmore.

The group is seeking the participation of the Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Quaker and Muslim faith communities in this service, which aims to unite us in prayer and in building peace in our community in the wake of Saturday's violence in Charlottesville. Swarthmore College’s Interfaith Center is also expected to participate.

The Interfaith Council of Southern Delaware County is a recent name change of the group long known as the Swarthmore-Wallingford Interfaith Ministerium (SWIM). The group decided to recast the name to reflect alarger geographical reach and the fact that the organization now includes lay religious leaders.

The Rev. Joyce Shin, pastor of Swarthmore Presbyterian, and Dr. Joyce Tompkins of Swarthmore College are taking the lead on planning Wednesday’s service.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Trump changes his tune

Tue, 2017-08-15 06:22
Monday morning it took just a couple of hours for President Trump to jump on Twitter and fire back at a business executive who resigned his post on the White House American Manufacturing Council, citing his concern over the actions in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend and the president's tepid response to it.

It took the president nearly 48 hours to finally condemn by name the white nationalists and other groups involved in the Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally.

That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Trump, and about the problems this country continues to have when it comes to race.

Kenneth Frazier is CEO at Merck, one of the biggest drug manufacturers in the world.

While Trump remained conspicuously absent from this favorite social media after violence broke out at the rally in Charlottesville, including an incident in which a 20-year-old man rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman, it didn't take him long to take aim at Frazier.

Trump jumped on Twitter and unloaded on Frazier, saying on Twitter that he will now "have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!" In the meantime, it was not until later Monday afternoon that Trump read a statement and condemned the hate groups - the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white national groups by name.

I'm glad the president finally saw the light.

But I wish he had done it Saturday.

That would have been presidential.

The act yesterday afternoon in which he read his carefully crafted statement from a teleprompter had the lok and feel of a man caving to immense pressure - some of it coming from his own staff and fellow Republicans.

Monday afternoon two more executives resigned from the business council.

On our editorial page today, we talk about the president's actions - or rather his 48 hours of inaction - and the problems this country continues to grapple with when it comes to race.

You can read it here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Lingering concerns about pipeline

Tue, 2017-08-15 05:48
The recent deal announced between several environmental groups and Sunoco Pipeline LP - which was approved by the state Environmental Hearing Board and a judge - cleared the path for horizontal directional drilling to resume along the controversial Mariner East 2 project.

It did not totally ease residents' concerns.

Last night the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety held an information session for residents. It stood in lieu of the regular council meeting, since there wasn't a quorum available.

More than 50 people showed up to get information and details on what could happen in the event of a leak or worse along the line.

Make no mistake, Sunoco Pipeline believes they are building the pipeline to the highest safety specs and believe fears in the community are greatly exaggerated.

That is not making them go away.

You can read our story here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A sad, shameful weekend

Mon, 2017-08-14 07:39
It was with an overwhelming sense of sadness that I sat glumly at the kitchen table Saturday and watched what was unfolding Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It reminded me of something I often state - sometimes much to the chagrin of those around me.

I wonder exactly how far we've come in this country when it comes to race relations.

Yes, I know we have made great strides. But no one who watched the tension slowly ratchet up - and then explode in violence when a man rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at a rally of white nationalists, killing one person, can now say race problems do not continue to perplex this country.

What was on display in Virginia is just hate, pure and simple.

They have been emboldened by a man who has consistently mouthed similar sentiments - and who now just happens to reside in the White House.

They see people they identify with in the inner circle of President Donald Trump.

They see the man who championed the groundless "birther" movement that demeaned and belittle the nation's first African-American president.

They see the misogyny.

They see the war on immigrants.

They see the cheers for building the border wall.

They see the president seemingly telling police officers not to be so nice in locking up criminal suspects.

It would have been nice to see police take a little more active role in getting between these two factions Saturday, perhaps trying to defuse the situation before it exploded.

And I was struck by this thought. Reverse the situation. Make those marching in the streets black, or perhaps wearing Muslim garb. What do you think the police presence would have been then?

If a Muslim had driven his car into a group of people, what do you think the reaction would have been?

And how long would it have taken the president to chime in?

Instead, we got hours of silence from the president.

The man who loves Twitter could not bring himself to expend 140 characters on an American tragedy.

Eventually, President Trump emerged to read a statement, but he could not have looked more disinterested. And he could not resist using a phrase that left many enraged, saying the violence was shared "by many sides."

Do you think the president would have been so reserved if this had involved a Muslim?

Trump's aides are now scrambling to define the message. The White House put out a statement condemning the violence, but it did not carry Trump's name.

Many of the white nationalists, KKK members and others on the alt-right seemed merely emboldened by the lack of condemnation from Trump. They boasted on social media that the president was not specifically blaming them.

This is America in 2017.

What happened Saturday in Virginia was shameful.

What happened afterward was even more troubling.

This is where we are.

Race continues to be at the center of unrest in this nation.

Have we come a long way on race relations? Absolutely? Do we have a long way to go? What happened this weekend in Charlottesville, and what happened afterward, suggests we do.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Some thoughts on the 'Summer of the Pipeline'

Mon, 2017-08-14 07:02
I am referring to this summer as the "Summer of the Pipeline."

Yes, we have covered the story involving the construction of Mariner East 2 extensively.

In fact, today we're back on the story, detailing concerns of local parents whose kids will be going back to school in a few weeks at schools that are in the path of the pipeline.

That includes Glenwood Elementary in Middletown.

But even with the amount of coverage we have devoted to this story, I was somewhat taken aback by some of the comments made at a recent meeting in Middletown.

Residents there seemed genuinely surprised that the pipeline plan had advanced to this point - literally taking them by surprise.

I wondered about that during a recent trip to one of my favorite places on earth, Rehoboth Beach.

It was there, with my behind planted firmly in the sand, that I had a chance to think about what I do for a living, and what it would mean for many local communities if the traditional watchdog purpose of local newspapers disappeared.

You can read my weekly Letter From the Editor here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A nagging question for DEP about Mariner East 2

Fri, 2017-08-11 06:28
On our editorial page today, we're asking a question a lot of people seem to be asking.

It's about the Mariner East 2 pipeline that has caused so much controversy in both Delaware and Chester counties.

The agreement that will put much more scrutiny on Sunoco Pipeline while offering a much strong measure of security for residents is a good step.

The agreement, approved by the state Environmental Hearing Board, will allow Sunoco to continue their controversial horizontal directional drilling that caused some problems, but with more precautions and much more in the way of notice when drilling is to commence in residents' neighborhoods.

But here is the question: Why did it fall on residents and environmental groups to push these questions and demand answers. Isn't the job of the state Department of Environmental Protection?

State Sen. Andy Dinniman believes the DEP has mismanaged this project and wants them to take another look at the permitting process. It's hard to disagree with him.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Wentz looks sharp, doesn't get hurt

Fri, 2017-08-11 06:19
Here is everything you need to know about the Eagles pre-season opener, a 24-9 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Carson Wentz looked sharp.

And he didn't get hurt.

That's it. Not much else really matters.

Don't believe it? Take this test. Tell me one thing you remember from last year's pre-season. Or any pre-season, for that matter, aside from a major injury. And no, that spectacular burst by Sam Bradford against the Packers doesn't count. We all know how that worked out.

Wentz did what he needed to do, completing all four of his passes and connecting with rookie Mack Hollins for a TD toss.

That's enough.

You can get the rest of the details here.

And Birds beat writer Bob Grotz checks in here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

More competition coming for Harrah's

Thu, 2017-08-10 07:02
At a time when Harrah's in Chester already is struggling with declining revenue - and the possibility of a wave of video gaming terminals being placed in local taverns and restaurants - this is probably not the news they wanted to hear.

There is more competition looming - and it's just a stone's throw up I-95.

The proposal for a new casino at the South Philly sports complex is back in the news. Yesterday the state Gaming Control Board approved the plan for Stadium Casino LLC's 'Live' casino and hotel in South Philadelphia. Yep, just about 15 minutes up I-95 from Harrah's.

Both city and county officials argued against granting the license to the South Philly spot.

They didn't win that war.

Now the state board has removed another obstacle, an appeal based on the fact that part owner Bob Manoukian will not own more than a third of the project. Manoukian plans to put the money into a trust fund for his sons, who will actually own the portion of the casino. Manoukian already owns 85 percent of Parx Casino in Bensalem. State law says that the primary owner of a casino cannot own more than 33.3 percent of another facility.

The gaming board originally picked the South Philly site back in November 2014, much to the chagrin of Delaware County and Chester officials who lined up against the plan, arguing it posed a serious threat to Harrah's in Chester. The casino bankrolls nearly a quarter of Chester's budget.

The folks at Sugar House Casino, on the water just a little farther up I-95 in the city, don't like the idea of a new gambling parlor at the sports complex either. They've been pushing the legal appeals.

The gaming board now will write what is referred to as an "adjudication" to explain their decision. At that point the matter could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A warning on straw gun purchases

Thu, 2017-08-10 06:48
On our editorial page today, we're talking about guns and the violence that is reaching epidemic levels on the streets of too many of our towns.

Everyone agrees there are too many guns in the hands of people who should not possess them.

Likewise, a key part of that problems is just how these people, who by law are not able to buy or possess a gun, still get their hands on firearms.

One way is through what is called a "straw purchase." That's when a person who is able to buy a gun legally does so with the intent of turning it over to someone who is not legally able to do so.

A new state law, named after Montgomery County officer Brad Fox, who was cut down in the line of duty by a man who got his hands on a gun in a "straw" purchase, is attacking the problem head-on.

This week a mother from Chester found herself looking at serious jail time after being sentenced under the mandatory minimums put in place by the Brad Fox Law.

We hope others considering taking part in these illegal transactions that are fueling the violence in our streets took notice.

You can read the editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A look at Daulton from one who knew him well

Thu, 2017-08-10 06:39
No one know the Phillies better than former Daily Times sportswriter and longtime Philly sports scribe Rich Westcott.

The Delco writer today offers his own special insight into why the Philly sports world was so shaken by the loss of All-Star catcher Darren Daulton.

Don't miss this special insider's perspective at a very special Phillie on today's op-ed page.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A salute to Darren Daulton

Wed, 2017-08-09 07:08
Too often we focus intently on big stories and then quickly move on.

Darren Daulton should be remembered a bit more.

Yes, he was that big a figure in Philly sports.

But not just sports, really.

Daulton is one of those rare figures who transcended sports, who reached out into all facets of society.

On our editorial page today, we talk about why his passing hurts so much.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A great voice falls silent: RIP, Glen Campbell

Wed, 2017-08-09 06:45
First it was Motown. God, I love my Temps and Tops.

Then it was the Sound of Philly. If anyone ever asks you to explain just what TSOP is, don't bother. Just play them Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes doing "If You Don't Know Me By Now," and let Teddy Pendergrass explain it for you.

Then I decided I needed to be cool, and drifted toward rock. Is it just me or did Foghat open every show we saw at the Spectrum?

Of course, I was way too busy trying to be cool to get into much country, in particular Glen Campbell.

If only I knew what I was missing.

What a voice.

The truth is, it doesn't get much better than this.

And so the sad dirge that reminds us that we are getting older continues.

I guess we're going to have get used to this. Every so often a little bit of our youth is going to die. Maybe we should take the time to remember just how great so much of this music was.

And for, maybe admit that we wasted a lot of time trying to impress people instead of just enjoying the ride.

RIP, Glen Campbell.

From a fan who took way too long to get on board.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Searching for answers to the violence

Tue, 2017-08-08 06:35
As I sifted through the information from an especially violent weekend in Delaware County, I started to put together the idea for today's front page.

Chester police were investigating five separate shooting incidents from the weekend. Thankfully, none of them were fatal. But the thought I had pretty much is splashed across today's front page.

Chester is a city looking for answers.

Reporter Rick Kauffman talked to police, Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, and county District Attorney Jack Whelan.

Remember Operation Safe Streets? Rolled out with much fanfare back in May, state police were added to city patrols to beef up the police presence in the city.

Reward funds have been beefed up.

One person actually did come forward with information in one case.

But the shooting has not stopped.

Neither has the search for a solution.

You can read our story here.

And on our editorial page, we join the voices of those seeking answers.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Why the loss of Darren Daulton hurts so much

Tue, 2017-08-08 06:13
It's hard to get Philly sports fans to agree on anything.

Just tune in to the city's sports talk radio stations for any amount of time if you want proof.

Except yesterday.

The Philadelphia sports community joined hands with fans yesterday to profess this:

We loved Darren Daulton.

The All-Star catcher and leader of the Phillies 1993 World Series team passed away Sunday night after battling brain cancer for several years.

Daulton beat nine surgeries on his gimpy knees. But he couldn't win this fight against cancer.

Fans, friends and teammates showered Daulton with praise yesterday, remembering a player who seemed to define the word 'leader' more than perhaps any athlete who ever donned a uniform in Philly.

Former teammate and Phils' pitcher Tommy Greene maybe said it best:

"He was a man's man ... and a woman's dream."

Yes, Daulton had more than his share of female fans. He was that ruggedly handsome.

But guys were drawn to him as well.

A lot of pro athletes let it go to their head, "big-timing" fans along the way.

Not Daulton. He never met a person he didn't like, or would not chat with, or sign an autograph for, or perhaps pose for a picture with. In our lead sports column today, Rob Parent puts it perfectly.

We lost a friend.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A violent weekend

Mon, 2017-08-07 07:14
It was not a good weekend in Delaware County.

And nowhere was that more in evidence than in the city of Chester.

In a city that deals with more than its share of random street violence and gun problems, this weekend seemed over the edge.

Police are investigating no fewer than five shootings that sent a half a dozen people to the hospital.

Thankfully, none of the shootings was fatal.

How bad was it? At one point a bullet was fired into a SEPTA bus. No one on the bus was injured.

The overwhelmed staff at Crozer Chester Medical Center instituted a Code Orange to deal with the wave of gun victims.

So much for Operation Safe Streets? Anyone remember the program rolled out amid much fanfare back in the first week of June, supposedly to stem the violence in Chester at the start of the summer. Does not seem to have had much effect. The violence was not limited to Chester.

In Colwyn, police continue to hunt for the gunman who shot three people Friday night, killing two of them.

Then a few hours later, a person was fatally stabbed about a block away in Darby Borough.

Categories: Pennsylvania