It Is Indeed a Question of Balance

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carla's picture
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The issues experienced by the Merion Community Coalition with regard to St. Joseph's University is like many we have had before in our communities. Gladwyne, Bryn Mawr, Ardmore and so on and so forth. The issues span several municipalities at times, and aren't just located within one lone municipality, are they?

It's a question of balance.

Balance between institutions and where they are located, for example. Might does not make right. By right at times does not mean it IS right.

Property rights in this country, in my humble opinion were not designed to be selective, yet somehow that is how they have evolved. Especially in this area.

When a neighborhood or resident or community group (even civic associations)gets up and says "hey now wait a minute" to an institution or a large developer they are automatically classified as NIMBY.

It's not NIMBY to want balance. It's not anti-progress to want balance. A desire to have thoughtful growth is not anti-progress. It's common sense, and truly forward thinking.

Community preservation is not where it should be as far as I am concerned.

Who else but me want common sense back in the equation?

I say this makes a GREAT election issue. Anyone else feel me on this?

We are facing still heady issues of developmental and institutional creep. It's time for government to join us on the issue and finding a middle ground acceptable to ALL of us. If government is unwilling, then it's time for other faces to govern us, isn't it? And I mean that on all levels of government from the local town hall to the state house to Washington D.C.

Political lip service is bunk. I say we all deserve better.

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politeia's picture
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I think this is a an important issue because it almost always involves our local government when there are property issues.

The Fifth Amendment states no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law“.

Most people don’t realize that property rights were one of the primary founding principles of our country. After all, British troops seized property at will for their use and that of the King.

As John Adams said: "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God ... anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist".

This guiding principle was that people come together to form governments in order to SECURE their rights to property - not to create an entity which will, in itself, "take from the mouths of labor the bread it has earned." What was wrong for individual citizens to do to one another, the Founders believed, was equally wrong for government to do to them.

This has brought about the concept of sole dominion - a right to exclude others, a right against trespass, the right to quiet enjoyment and the right of active use, but only to the point that active use does not violate the quite enjoyment of others.

This is the other battle St. Joe’s has to fight on top of its current appeal in regards to exactly what SJU indicated to the township it would use the property for.

If you combine the fact that SJU stated they would use the fields in a manner no different than that of Episcopal and that the proposed new use would violate the quiet enjoyment of others, then St. Joe’s does not have a leg to stand on.

However, leaving such things open to the interpretation of local courts where politics are no doubt involved creates an anxious situation for the Merion neighbors as courts in Montgomery County (see: Barnes Foundation) have a habit of making politically slanted rulings that defy legal precedent and the rule of law.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves

~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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carla's picture
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Thank you for your reply. I hope others up here join this conversation because it is an important one. The irony in conversations is we all might not agree on specific issues, or how to seek a solution on a specific issue, but we still need the open dialogue. Thank you for always promoting the dialogue with intellegent and thoughtful replies to posts.

_____________________________________________________________
L'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers/Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains.–Jean Jacques Rosseau. The Social Contract, 1762

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"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

LMT Observer's picture
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For an illustration of the importance of pursuing and expanding the dialogue
visit "All They Got For Their Neighborhood Was an Expensive Parking Garage."

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merion resident's picture
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LMT needs more people thing like this

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Lauren Wylonis's picture
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You are right! This is a GREAT election issue! Lower Merion residents need to elect commissioners who are protecting their interests. It is time that developers and institutions are subject to the same laws and conditions that residents are. We need to make sure that the direction in this township changes and commissioners need to more strongly encourage the institutions and developers to work with and compromise with neighbors so that all parties end up benefiting. The days of neighbors' interests getting trampled in Lower Merion need to end now!

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carla's picture
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Hi Lauren!!! Glad to see you up here!!

_____________________________________________________________
L'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers/Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains.–Jean Jacques Rosseau. The Social Contract, 1762

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"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

nancy Herman's picture
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It is very difficult to know when electing a commissioner what conflicts of interest may be lurking in the background. In fact it is impossible. That is one good thing about elections. The opponents can usually be counted on to expose each others' weaknesses. But it is difficult to anticipate what threats to your neighborhood are around the corner. Most politicians are so careful about what they put out publicly that you never really know where they will stand on any specific issue. The best you can do is try to keep up with what your township is doing and let all the commissioners know when you think things are going in the wrong direction...and then get 5 other people to let them know.

That is why this forum is important.

I think we have to think about who is crying NIMBY. I don't think those who protested the casinos were accused of being NIMBY. I think there is a feeling in the city paper (Inquirer) that anyone who lives in the suburbs has no right to complain about anything because they have 'leafy streets'.

The city it seems resents the suburbs. This may be something we have to live with. It is too bad we get most of our news from the Inquirer.

It seems everyone has swallowed the idea that it is the neighbors on Latch's Lane who have caused the Barnes to move. What a fantastic cover story to mask all the machinations, both political and philanthropic, that really went into that heist. On the face of it it is ludicrous. Since when do the desires of a few neighbors cause an institution to move? The only reason I think people have bought into this farce is that is satisfies their desire to see the suburbs 'brought low'. If those city dwellers who are so satisfied would pause for a moment and look at reality, they would recognize they are loosing forever a profoundly rich art experience that is now a short train or bus ride away. Even getting back at the suburbs for their 'leafy streets' is not worth that punishment.

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