The LMCRB Stop The Madness Petition: 1931 Signatures And Growing!

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carla's picture
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Have YOU signed the petition yet? Click Here to Sign Petition to The Commissioners of Lower Merion Township Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic

 

Sign the petition and pass it along....

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

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

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Are government workers overpaid?  No.  Are some of the inefficient?  Certainly.  More so than in the private sector?  No.  Why are more government workers unionized than private sector workers now?  Because begnning with Taft Hartley and with a succession of Republican administrations appointing union-hating members to the National Labor Relations Board, it has become more and more difficult to organize.  The notion that cutting government salaries will unleash all this pent-up economic activity by the private sector is disproved by the fact that businesses are awash in cash and are not investing in anything.   The problem with the economy is that with the bursting of the housing bubble, nobody is borrowing anymore so they don't have any money in their hands, and they can't make up for by wages because there are five people looking for each available job.  

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politeia's picture
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Small/medium businesses make up the majority of hiring in this country and they are not awash with cash (Big Business that is in bed with government and has been bailed out with our tax dollars is awash with cash and they are sitting on our tax dollars and I do have a problem with that, but they do not drive hiring like choked small/medium businesses do).

It is banks that are awash with cash because they can get it from the Fed for virtually zero percent and they are in turn investing it for a 3-4% return instead of lending it. This is why nobody is borrowing. Banks are making it too hard to get loans because they would rather invest the free money the Fed gives them.

Fact is township employees keep getting 3% raises each year (who knows how much more with "longevity" bonuses, but that can easily put it at 5% or more a year), while the private sector as a whole has seen a 3% Reduction in income each of the past 2 years.

How is this fair to taxpayers who are already hurting and having their incomes go down - to in turn have to pay higher taxes so township employees can get bigger raises and keep better benefit packages that cost them less on our dime - and while our income is going down so we pay an even greater percentage of our income than the 12.7% tax increase due to our decreased earning power? This has nothing to do with reducing our township “services”. It has everything to do with why existing township employees get cushy raises and benefits packages while those taxpayers paying for them are seeing their incomes go down while receiving reduced benefits at a greater cost.

I would like an explanation as to how this is fair to the taxpayer/owners of Lower Merion Township and the citizens of this country?

There is no doubt in my mind that on a macro level, and since the banks are not lending all the money the Fed is giving them for free, that if you lower taxes by reducing government spending across the country, that citizens will spend more to due to the reduced tax burden and help drive economic growth - with 70% of our economy being based on consumer spending.

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

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

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Excellent analyis, polateia  and a good question about stress to The Forgotten Taxpayer having to pay increased Township salaries as their own incomes decline. How is this fair?

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bobguzzardi's picture
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Eliminating the requirement of Prevailing Wage would lower municipal project costs by 30 to 40%. the Gateway Fountain would have cost less than $100k. Actually it would cost nothing if it were not built at all. This is not a necessity. or a core function of government to enhance private property for benefit of one property owner.

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I agree with Hugh on this one.  Blaming the gov't and gov't workers is not going to solve our current deficit problems and it is not to say they are totally blameless.  What we are seeing in Lower Merion, Radnor, and Townships across the country is the ripple effect of the crisis that started in Sept/October 2008 regarding sub-prime speculation by private investors (Wall Street and everyone else who got in on it).  It has taken this long to work it's way through our economic system, at the Nation/federal level, through state gov't and it is now parked on our doorstep, the local municipality and taxpayer.  I liken it to a tangential example:  a professional family who lives on the mainline, still has a employed head of household, where the spouse still holds a job, who bought a large house/estate four years ago in Gladwynne for a million-five.  This was way more house than they could afford but thanks to sub-prime rates being so low they took the bet, being educated and thinking that they would be able to sell the house if the interest rate rose to high - THEY TOOK THE BET AND THEY LOST and are now stuck in a house not worth what they bought it for, are unable to sell it due to the collapsed real estate market - AND THEY ARE NOW RUNNING A DEFICIT (they don't make enough in salaries anymore to pay the mortgage, bills, etc...)  We can blame them for some of this and some of the blame is decidedly outside of their control and unforeseen.  

This is the problem our township is trying to cope with and as Hugh has said and many of our Commissioners have alluded to, and I'll say - you think this year's tax hikes are bad, WAIT TIL NEXT YEAR!!!  This ain't over by a long shot.  We(businesses, gov't, citizens) all need to figure out how to be a productive as we can be, get back to investing/hiring/spending in the private sector to start down the road to fixing this problem.  Just focusing on spending cut-backs may make the current moment more palatable but it is not a fix for our current local, state or national economic problems.

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politeia's picture
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Government intervention in the economy caused the problems that allowed for these out-of-control and truly greedy behaviors on Wall Street, by mortgage lenders and by borrowers. The Federal Reserve (Fed) set interest rates below real market values for too long at the turn of the century making it pay (for a time at least) for people and banks to take excessive risk.

These below real market interest rates caused a frenzy of risk that was helped along by: government sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which guaranteed half the sub-prime loans and securitized the majority of the risky mortgages into “toxic” securities that they sold to Wall Street, the Community Reinvestment Act loosening lending standards across the board, the “pro-ownership” tax code, Bush virtually making it policy that every American should own a home, Fed Chair Greenspan stating fixed rate mortgages were archaic and that Americans should embrace ARM’s - in one of many bungled government attempts to keep the real estate bubble from collapsing.

If Greenspan had raised interest rates when he should have back in '03 and '04 (or if a truly free market had set the proper interest rates itself based on actual, voluntary economic actions over a period of time), we would have had a moderate correction and what few "toxic" mortgage securities there were at the time would have been written off and the market would have learned from its mistake with a mild recesssion.

Instead, Greenspan massively fueled the fire by keeping interest rates artificially low and below real market rates for too long, which allowed those in the real estate market to make loans they should not have and to take out mortgages they never should have because there was too much money flooding into the real estate markets due to Greenspan and the Fed distorting the real estate market with artificial, below real market interest rates - and the Fed distorted the real estate market so much that people got so giddy and so greedy they never thought their home prices and equity would ever stop growing. As the Austrian theory of the business cycle teaches us, all artificial booms created by the Fed through artificially low interest rates and an inflationary monetary policy must come to an end - and the larger the Fed allows the distorted asset boom to get, and the longer the Fed allows it to last, the greater the crash and the worse the ensuing recession/depression will be.

I absolutely agree we need to get back to investing/hiring/spending in the private sector, but as long as government regulated banks are sitting on trillions of dollars the Fed printed out of thin air for them and are not lending, it’s going to take time.

In the meantime, just as the private sector has really tightened its belt, the government also has to with its runaway spending. The government played the primary role in causing the Great Recession, after all.

As I stated above:

There is no doubt in my mind that on a macro level, and since the banks are not lending all the money the Fed is giving them for free, that if you lower taxes by reducing government spending across the country, that citizens will spend more due to the reduced tax burden and help drive economic growth - with 70% of our economy being based on consumer spending.

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

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

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1313 is impressive and this list is growing fast. I have to think it is the SAC website because, other than some emails from me, there is no promotion. The SAC website has a much bigger audience than I do. Good work, Carla and Doug

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With all due respect to Doug, about 3/4 of the signatures are from Gladwyne, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, Rosemont and Haverford, suggesting that the signers are being solicited from the email distribution lists of Commissioners Brown, Rosenzweig, Zelov and Gould.

Until the majority begins seeing significant numbers of signatures from regions of the township other than those currently represented by Republicans (particularly those that will be electing commissioners in 2011), there's little reason to believe that they will be impressed by this petition regardless of how many signatures are collected. 

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carla's picture
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Actually LMCRB does think SAC has helped the visibility a lot. 

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

politeia's picture
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I’m seeing a lot of Merion and Bala signatures popping-up recently.

I agree, however, that if 20,000 Lower Merion residents sign this petition, that Reed and his cronies would just plow ahead with their selfish agendas anyway.

However, I’d love to see LMCRB speak up the night the commissioners vote for these horrid tax increases with a petition with thousands of signature from every corner of the township.

It is time for the forgotten taxpayer to be heard.

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

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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1322....

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carla's picture
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1344 Total Signatures....

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1371 as of 8:52 pm Saturday

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Wynnewoodie's picture
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Bob,

Numbers don't matter. The only petitions that "work" are the ones that support what the majority is going to do anyway. See the "parents for LMSD" petition for a perfect example.

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chips's picture
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Yep, I have never seen a petition persuade elected officials.

Petitions are VERY helpful, particularly with email addresses, if the goal is to create a powerful database for effective opposition.

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1401 signatures as of 6am Sunday 21 November

Wynnewoodie I disagree. Petitions identify voters who support a policy.Many who agree won't sign for a variety of reasons. The number signing in Lower Merion is unprecedented as far as I know.

November 11 elections are less than a year away. Time to start now finding fiscal common sense candidates and learning the issues.

Winning Ideas Win Elections.

Producing Value to the Voter is the Key to Political Success  - Business people know that providing customer value is the key to financial success.

A Message needs a Messenger

 " Before they care what you know they have know you care."  is another business aphorism that applies to politics as well.

"The Informed Voter is My Ally" is my own aphorism and it speaks to transparency of which we do not get enough, in my opinion.

 

 

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bc59's picture
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this petition is working its way around- it takes a while for people to become aware-not everyone reads SAC :)  I also noticed a lot of Bala Cynwyd signers recently I think they are just late hearing about it.

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bobguzzardi's picture
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Please push this to your lists. Despite the negativity, I think it has an impact letting others know they are not alone, not one voice. The Petition is a tool of communication among like minded residents. How can you tell whether the petition persuades or not. It is certain that no petition will not persuade. It is hard to tell how something like this has an impact. In any evnt, shold the Majroty ignore the residents, that, in and or itself, is good data.

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Wynnewoodie's picture
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Bob,

The one pervading evil in Democracy is tyranny of the majority. Senator Toomey will ignore my policy preferences for the next six years just as Congressman Gerlach has for the last eight.

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bobguzzardi's picture
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Jim Gerlach doesn't represent my policy preferences, either.

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1419 as to 10:08 am Sunday  moving along despite some foot dragging negativity. This is a season of surprises

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1431  at 11:30 am 

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carla's picture
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Lord love a duck and all that. I notcied that Cheryl Allison's article on the first budget hearing is up LM budget hearing spans five hours; no action taken
By Cheryl Allison

And I saw the first comment....there are no words....

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carla's picture
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Oink

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Carla, this is terrific. I can't seem to copy it. Can you email it and I will send to my list. I am laughing out loud, This is the best

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carla's picture
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1478 signatures!

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outtathere's picture
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Government intervention in the economy caused contributed to the problems that allowed for these out-of-control and truly greedy behaviors on Wall Street, by mortgage lenders and by borrowers. The Federal Reserve (Fed) set interest rates below real market values for too long at the turn of the century making it pay (for a time at least) for people and banks to take excessive risk.

I'll agree with that statement subject to the alteration I've made in boldface. The artificially low interest rates made their contribution primarily at the retail level since they lowered monthly payments resulting in borrowers qualifying for far larger loan amounts thus fueling the speculative inflationary bubble in housing prices.

But far more damaging was the 'innovation' known as the 'mortgage-backed security', a 'product' of Wall Street. This enabled what had formerly been known as the 'no doc' or 'liar' (and became the 'sub-prime) loan to be offered within fractional percentage points of a legitimate mortgage. Reason being, the retail lender no longer had any stake in the actual risk involved. Thus lenders, given the opportunity, soon became involved in 'volume lending' reaping huge revenues just on the myriad fees involved in processing the loans. And there was no downside. Originate as many as possible ----->bundle them up ------>ship them out ------>repeat.

A continuous cycle. Formulaic fraud. No doc loans have always been available but at an interest rate commensurate with the risk involved - usually at least double the going rate for a legit mortgage. They were available through private investors who assumed the risk involved and were paid accordingly. Banks didn't go anywhere near them. Banks were held to engaging in prudent lending practices and standards. Held how? Most mortgages they originated were sold to Fannie Mae and were subject to strict quality standards - 'comforming'.
For those banks that did hold mortgages for their own portfolios, those loans, just like all the bank's finances were subject to periodic scrutiny by bank examiners.

So where are we headed from this point forth?

Yes, reduced spending could reduce taxes OR it could reduce the astronomical amount the government is borrowing each year day .

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Also bear in mind that reduced spending means reduced purchasing/economic acitivity and is the converse of Obama's ridiculous "Stimulus" scheme with one major difference: Cutting spending will have more than a short-term impact- those put out of work will remain out of work for quite some time. The bogus 'stimulus' scheme on the other hand is like the child who put his thumb in the dike to stop the leak- as soon as he removes it, the problem returns. When the roads are repaved, the street trees planted, the fake brick sidewalks installed in the failing towns, the workers return to the unemployment line.

Consider further that a large part of pre-recession consumerist spending was fueled by the rampant practice of using one's home as a giant ATM through home-equity loans, people living way, way beyond their means.

Those are but a few of the factors that lead me not to expect any great signs of improvement for a long, long time. This ain't no business cycle but rather the chickens came home to roost after years and years and layer upon layer of risky, irresponsible practices.

The ultimate cause that I peg it on is the foolhardy, scheme-ridden attempt to continue living lifestyles that only an industrial economy is capable of providing. This country has been systematically de-industrialized starting in the mid to late Seventies. We are experiencing the results of that at the same time the Chinese are doing just the opposite and industrializing just as fast as they can. The sky is the limit for them. Who knows where we are headed?

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"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.":Gil Scott-Heron 1970 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGaRtqrlGy8

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I believe artificial and below real market interest rates the Fed set in ‘03 and ‘04 caused the Great Recession.

If interest rates were where they should have been at a higher level, then there never would have been as much speculative borrowing as only those who could afford to borrow at the higher interest rates could have done so as properly set interest rates allow for a proper allocation of resources.

Because of the artificially low interest rates set by the Fed, and due to other government intervention I mentioned above, lenders and borrowers got caught up in the frenzy and started breaking sound investment rules.

This started at the retail level due to the artificially low interest rates, and this allowed all those toxic loans and mortgage backed securities to be created and sold to Wall Street (primarily by government sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). As I stated above in this post and my pervious post above on this, with properly set interest rates there never would have been so many bad mortgages on the retail level and Wall Street would not have had so many toxic securitized mortgages to play with.

This never would have happened if interest rates were where they should have been, so in my view the Fed caused the Great Recession.

The contributing factors were Wall Street, greedy home buyers and banks that lowered lending standards - even though they are supposed to be highly regulated by the government.

So how did banks get away with no doc loans? The government turned a blind eye in order to keep the bubble from bursting.

Then when the bubble burst, the government blamed the “free market”, when our government managed economy is about as far from a free market as you can get.

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

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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1522 total signatures....

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I love to read how the crisis is the government's fault because it a) overregulated or b) underregualated.  When people tout the importance of self-responsiblity, they seem to accord the private sector none and it is the government's fault for either a) letting them run amok or b) not letting them run amok enough.

The fact is that modern corporate america is set a mode to create gimmicks instead of real products that people could use.  This sets us on a boom and bust cycle that leads to a few sucking money from the middle class.  We are left to pick up the pieces which means fighting for scraps at township and county meetings.  And sure we can take it out on government workers, but in the end you are missing the real enemy.

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The fact is that modern corporate america is set a mode to create gimmicks instead of real products that people could use.

The fact is that modern corporate America produces things you need and things you don't; things of varying quality and price; and in selling these things employs people who can then afford to feed and shelter their families, spend money on things they need (or don't), and pay taxes to help government workers do the same. Corporate America must do business responsibly (not pollute the air or water, not engage is criminal behavior, etc), but consumers bear responsibility for the choices we make, too. If we buy smartphones and flat-screen TVs and luxury SUVs instead of paying our mortgages, we can hardly complain when banks repossesses our houses. 

And sure we can take it out on government workers, but in the end you are missing the real enemy.

Which is who? Corporate America? We've seen the enemy and it's us?

Look. The SAC blog is a poor place to reimagine the American economy, or take on the super wealthy who lobby congress for policies that perpetuate the extreme income inequality that may have contributed to the severity of the recession, but it's a perfectly reasonable place to point out that raising property taxes in Lower Merion will do nothing to bring municipal or school board expenditures in line with revenues, let alone inflation. Like it or not, when residents see public employees getting the kinds of raises they haven't seen in years and are handed an escalating tax bill to pay for those raises, that's certain to engender some resentments, and perhaps even a little righteous anger.

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This is way above my head, but I least I'm learning something. I'd love to learn all sides to better understand why my pay goes down and our taxes go up.

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politeia's picture
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My view is that we have to understand what caused the economic collapse in order to understand how to fix it.

If other bloggers have better explanations, let’s hear them.

I most certainly put blame on mortgage lender and borrowers. My view, as posted above, is that government enabled them.

If you read my posts over the years you will note I am consistent in slamming Big Business, crony capitalism and corporatism - that is Big Business being in bed with government.

The biggest problem with Big Business is “regulatory capture” where their lobbyists actually write the regulations for the government that benefit them and harms their competition.

This in turn, and as we have especially seen on Wall Street (which I have constantly blasted), creates what is called “moral hazard”, where Big Business knows they will be bailed out by the government if they fail due to being in bed together, so why not take outrageous risks?

If I knew the government would bail me out and pay back my lost investment day trading stocks, why not take big risks?

I’ve explained my views. Let’s hear from others as to why this Great Recession occurred.

I’m all ears and will respect all views, though I may not agree.

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

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

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Let's get 2,000 by the next budget workshop!

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1624 at 7:30 pm Monday

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1654 signatures as of 8:20am

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dmuth's picture
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You know, I think there's a "petition" module for Drupal, so that users could create their own petitions on this site if they desired.

Think it's worth having me look into?

 

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carla's picture
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yes...petition- able would be cool

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carla's picture
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1796....have you signed yet???

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carla's picture
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1803!!!!

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carla's picture
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1910!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

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

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