Much Ado About Blogging 2010

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carla's picture
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In 2008, I wrote a post called "Why is There Always So Much Ado About Blogging?"

Time to revist this topic based upon some current events and recent past events I would like to share.

I am active in the community. Call me a municipal meddler, community activist, or interested resident –to an extent, it’s all one and the same. I have been at this game a few years and have come across all sorts of people on different sides of issues I am involved with.

One issue I am involved in is the fight to keep billboards out of our suburban communities. I hate billboards. Always have. I think they are ugly, and in the age of digital everything and the onset of now digital billboards, I dislike them even more. Four states actually agree with me – Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and Vermont. I have read that two other states, Rhode Island and Oregon have prohibited the construction of new billboards.

Because I don’t like billboards I have become a target of the lawyer whose client wants to put billboards all over Delaware County and even in the Bryn Mawr section of Haverford Township, a pebble’s toss from Lower Merion Township. This lawyer and their same client also have a dispute brewing over the legality of a billboard in the Bryn Mawr section of Lower Merion Township at the five points intersection.

This lawyer has seemingly made it his mission to single me out for exercising my first amendment rights. Because that is all I have done – said again, and again, and again that I hate billboards that loom over communties filled with GIANT ads of whatever and everything imaginable. The irony is part of the argument offered by this lawyer in favor of these billboards is that it is his client’s first amendment right to erect giant billboards to loom over our communities, and small suburban business districts.

I am not part of some giant conspiracy theory, and as the billboard case in Lower Merion specifically has proceeded, this lawyer has deliberately and inappropriately linked my name when making his case, as if I am his case.

Move to more locally. I think institutions basically don’t give a crap about their residential neighbors. We have seen it time and again in Lower Merion, Haverford, and Radnor Townships when medical and educational institutions seek to expand their giant footprints.

Or in the case of Bryn Mawr with Bryn Mawr Hospital – the hospital just ate up part of the town of Bryn Mawr as a snack and now it’s the bumpy and ridged road hospital zone – no new medical buildings, but they are a whiz at surface parking lots and monster garages. We lost neighbors and the sounds of kids playing for nice impersonal macadam and concrete. To add insult to injury there? Taxpayers in two municipalities funded intersection improvements that the hospital needed in their conditions of approval, didn’t they?

One of the largest problems with these institutions is they never have sufficient parking. So the overflow ends up on the streets of small neighborhoods. Which leads us to academic institutions.

The schools are another cup of tea. There is always a gotcha angle lurking and a lack of accountability. Even when it comes to students off campus – and for that in particular – I will mention Tredyffrin because of the people who live in Mt. Pleasant and had to deal with so much unpleasantness and intimidation to take back their streets in a reasonable manner from off campus student housing – and of course who knows if it is really any better or they are just tired of having to step up.

I live with an academic institution as a neighbor. When I first started on my quest along with several neighbors to get the school to realize that they had to STOP treating us as their parking lot, I tried the traditional way: calling the school, etc. I got nothing. We all got nothing. When we wrote letters to the editors over the years the headmaster would respond with glowing twaddleriffic tomes of the good deeds the school did and the scholarship students they allowed into the hallowed halls.

Uhhh, sir, don’t think it’s the boys on scholarship driving the $45,000 SUV to school that blocked that neighbor’s driveway.

So we kept at it. And I use ” we”, because although the perception it is all me, it is in fact not. Other neighbors complain. We soon discovered that the largest issue was proof of issue – so photos started being taken on our streets. By me and by others. A few photos I have actually come from an alumnus of the school.

The streets are public, it’s where we live,and like neighbors near other academic institutions who have had to do this – we need to show people what it’s like in order for them to get it. The lack of parking where this institution is concerned has forced neighborhoods in two townships to go to zoned and permit parking wherever possible. Still, it is a work in progress. To them we always be just a place for cell phone mommies to speed through and a place for them to park.

And it’s damn annoying whenever we finally think we are getting on a more level footing and a peaceful coexistence and the institution stirs it up again.

One of the only thing that consistently makes a dent when dealing with problem children institutional neighbors is documentation. Blogging is a form of documention. But the blogging then, incorrectly, becomes the issue. The institutions don’t get that if things were more consistent, there would be no blogging because there would be no issues.

And now to local politics: they hate blogging the most. You don’t even have to do a political lampoon and they hate it. And at the end of the day what is political blogging? On local levels it is opinion and discussion of issues. And if the politicians are doing something which bothers people, they get thrown into the mix.
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When it comes to blogging about local politics,issues, budget follies, and the lack of historic preservation of our communities in the face of wanton and unwelcome development I know I piss some of them off most of the time. But to them I say why give me fodder? And why send your minions after me? Which has happened in the past, and probably will again. I am not talking about people wanting to get to know me because I might be fun and interesting to know, but people being sent on reconnaissance missions.

Seriously, how messed up is it to have them culling my friends and chatting them up about ME? I am not the problem. I am not the elected official – and why is it their opinions are fine and other opinions aren’t O.K.? Oh right, because if you don’t agree with them they can’t handle it. Welcome to Sheepleville is what they would prefer, but a lot of us simply don’t see it that way.

Of course my other reward for being outspoken is when the trolls pop up on the newspaper sites. It always amuses me that they expect me to suck it up yet they holler holy hell if I put the Dali Reed in a photo shop (for example).

I know this website is monitored by several municipalities. I am not the dragon queen of local blogging. I am but one voice among many up here, and it seems to me sites like this perform a public service, because you know where the pulse of some of the public is. But no, you would rather have “politics without the poison” and whatever other flash in the pan websites supporters can cook up here and there.

Yet where does everyone come? Right here.

Politicians should be smarter then they are because to an extent blogs are a direct reflection of the job citizens think they are doing. Today, more than ever, that has to be paid attention to.Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Blogging is like an ever changing "Letter to the Editor" for the Internet age. Blogs give people a chance to voice their opinions however they see fit. Basically, you go to the web and you will find blogs on all sorts of topics.

Political blogging is now as common as opening that newspaper or turning on the T.V. or radio. This website didn't invent the wheel on that, only added to the conversation.

Grassroots activists all over use blogs to get the word out. This website didn't invent the wheel on that, only added to the conversation.

Does the conversation get salty sometimes? Yes. Does it get too salty? No, that is why we have a webmaster.
Do we welcome anyone including politicians to blog? Yes.

How do people blog? However they are most comfortable. Some folks post under their own names, some post under "handles". We have some funny, funny handles – we are I think thr only blog with it’s own chicken sandwich.

How many pseudonyms did Benjamin Franklin have? Or Tom Paine? Or John Adams? Then there is Samuel Clemens, oops I mean Mark Twain. (You know "lies, damn lies and statistics"?) Seriously, throughout history how many male and female writers have written under pseudonyms?

So what do you all think? Do you like discussing development issues, community issues and political issues? Do you think this website and blogs contained herein are fun and informative?

You know what I think? I think forums like this are a great resource, and if not for anything else, because of the state of the media. Our newspapers can't and don't cover issues comprehensively and often due to a lack of manpower are forced to overlook what is important to us.

And again, I believe in the First Amendment. It is a right our founding fathers fought hard for. And if government doesn't listen, this is a way to encourage them to do so. Government might not like all opinions, but you know what? That is what is great about this country: they don't have to and that is o.k.

How do all of you feel about back door tactics that try to silence community voices? Occasional goonish tactics don’t sit well with me because I think the objective is to intimidate myself and others from speaking out and asking questions about issues which affect us in our communities. These are out communities. This is where we live, work, and so on. Ask questions, speak out, speak up. It is your right as a resident and as an American.

I encourage all of you out there to get up here and join the conversation. Add events to our events calendar. Let us know what is up in your neck of the woods. But if you choose NOT to join the conversation, hey that's cool. The internet and blogs aren't for everyone....

Here's the 411: this is not a government run or dictated website, but it is community driven. I feel that there is more than enough room up here for lots of voices and personally, that is why I like this site. I feel this website is the epitomy of grassroots and community.

No Pravda here.

Cheers to you local bloggers!

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hear say's picture
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Well stated.

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carla's picture
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thanks hear say. nice to see you - you haven't been up in a while

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

dmuth's picture
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Interestingly enough, I haven't received any legal threats over this site during 2010.

Maybe people are starting to learn.

 

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bubbahotep's picture
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Amen! Eye-wink

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mtplezmom's picture
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GREAT POST CARLA!!!

TREDYFFRIN HAD A BILLBOARD ISSUE A FEW MONTHS AGO AND I TOO FELT THE NEED TO ARGUE AGAINST IT. THE TWP WANTED TO REZONE A RESIDENTIAL LOT TO COMMERCIAL SO CLEAR CHANNEL COULD INSTALL A DIGITAL BILLBOARD WHERE A TRADITIONAL BILLBOARD STANDS.  THE NEIGHBORS ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE  GOT A LAWYER AND THE ITEM WAS TAKEN OFF THE ZONING BOARD AGENDA...DON'T KNOW FOR SURE WHY?...

AND LIFE IN MT. PLEASANT STILL SUCKS FOR THE MOST PART. NO BIG PARTIES THIS YEAR. BUT LOTS OF TRAFFIC, TRASH AND NOISE. THIS YEAR THE BIG ISSUE IS THE FRANTERNITY KIDS WHO RENT TWO HOUSES ACROSS THE STREET FROM ME ... BIG TIME DRUGGIES!!!  TRAFFIC IN AND OUT OF THESE HOUSES ALL NIGHT LONG... FOUR LOKO AND BEER CANS LITTERING THE YARDS, EMPTY WHIPPED CREAM CANS... AND THAT'S JUST THE LEGAL STUFF... I'VE ACTUALLY WITNESSED DRUG DEALS IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT...

ON A DIFFERENT NOTE...I'VE RECEIVED EMAIL REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION ABOUT MT. PLEASANT FROM COLLEGE STUDENTS ATTENDING CABRINI, EASTERN AND THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA.  THEY'RE STUDYING THE "STUDENTIFICATION" OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN NEIGHBORHOODS ALONG THE MAIN LINE... AT LEAST OUR DEMISE WILL BE DOCUMENTED...

I REALLY LIKE READING THE POSTS ON THIS WEBSITE. I'VE LEARNED A LOT AND IT'S GOOD TO KNOW THAT THERE IS A FORUM WHERE COMMUNITY ISSUES CAN BE DISCUSSED. I ALSO FEEL THERE'S A LESSER CHANCE OF COMMENTS BEING CENSORED HERE THAN ON LOCAL MEDIA WEBSITES.  

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carla's picture
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Hey Christine!  Thanks for stopping by & Merry Christmas.

What have TE Cops done about these issues???

 

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

mtplezmom's picture
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I haven't complained, because I don't expect them to do anything about it.  It's pointless.

Hmmm.  I'm thinking maybe Tredyffrin needs to adopt an LGBT Anti-Discrimination Odininance.... 

Perhaps I'll introduce the idea at one of the next Board of Supervisor meetings. 

Is Lower Merion's available online?

 

And Happy Holidays to you as well!!!

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I haven't complained, because I don't expect them to do anything about it. It's pointless.

Hmmm. I'm thinking maybe Tredyffrin needs to adopt an LGBT Anti-Discrimination Odininance....

Perhaps I'll introduce the idea at one of the next Board of Supervisor meetings.

Methinks that the discrimination you are enduring in Mt. Pleasant has as little chance of being addressed as an 'LGBT' ordinance has of being addressed.

So far as your introducing one yourself, bear in mind that the 'documentary' film "Out in the Silence" was shown not long ago at the Tredyffrin Library. TL was not chosen randomly for a filming nor are these ordinances popping up all of a sudden in surrounding municipalities mere coincidence. So sit tight. If an ordinance is not already in the works, it will be before long.

What you describe as taking place in your community is clearly discriminatory. You would not find ongoing drug activity and open drug deals taking place for very long in neighboring sections of Tredyffrin before they were shut down and people arrested. Yet in your neighborhood, the authorities are unresponsive.

A few ideas occured to me, and while I am sure that you all are at your wit's end and have racked your brains for a solution that will provide relief, perhaps there are some things you have overlooked. That is frequently the case.

You might contact the Pennsylvania State Police, who I believe intervene in areas where there is not effective local policing taking place. Of course you'd probably have to provide thorough documentation of your complaints going unaddressed, but I'd just bet that you have all that at the ready.

Also, you might contact the PA Attorney General's office and see if they can provide some direction. I'd try that before the County since I doubt that the County gives much more of a hoot about you than the Township does. It's a long, long way from West Chester to the far reaches of the County where you are.

As to the housing speculators targeting and invading your community, glad to see the Colleges taking an interest in this. I think it's a safe bet you wouldn't have the problems you do if you were not African American.

Bear in mind that these LGBT ordinances are meeting with success nearly everywhere they are proposed because they are being promoted and orchestrated by extremely well-trained activists. So it might be time to take a cue from that and involve some activist groups that fight for the rights and equality of African Americans.

So far, your plight is little-known beyond this blog due to the built-in limitations of your just being a grass-roots group of people seeking justice. Getting those with the power of publicity on board with you, Tredyffrin Township could soon become known far and wide as a place where discrimination is a matter of public policy or a lack thereof. And that is surely not an image that the fine citizens of Tredyffrin are trying to project. It is an image they deserve if they fail to take effective measures to correct it. So far they have gotten away with it because it's been kept a dirty little secret. Change that aspect and you will get results.

Hope that is of some help and know that many outside your community are with you in our hearts and minds.

Happy Holiday to the good people of Mount Pleasant!

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

Hugh Gordon's picture
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Lower Merion's new ordinance is here:  http://lowermerion.org/index.aspx?recordid=2746&page=51#ahr

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Does this mean that the school district will not be able to require 50% of gay students to be bused to another town for high school?

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mtplezmom's picture
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A LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance in Tredyffrin is being discussed on Pattye Benson's Community Matters Blog. 

www.pattyebenson.org 

Thank you "outtathere" for your suggestions.... and for understanding. 

Christine

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carla's picture
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Sometimes  I get comments on my blogging off-blog -and sometimes they are less than positive -  I would like to think  bloggers have accomplished a lot of positive things, so you won't find me apologizing for having a voice. Perhaps blogging is not always PC nor expected, but at least I can say my voice/ mind are my own.  Let people talk - it's - duh - kind of the point of doing it in the 1st place. And then I run into people whom I would never expect in a million years read a blog and guess what? They read the bloggers on THIS site.

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

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Citizen Journalist Carla, Activist Carla, authentic, uncompromisingly honest, clear and articulate exponent of ideas and positions: You are a public treasure. All the best and please have a safe and spiritually  meaningful Christmas.

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carla's picture
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Bob, quite simply, thank you.

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Carla with the help of blogs you get the info out in the public.  Many would not not know about an issue until it is too late.  Radnor thrived on that for years.  The person from TE brings up an important issue regarding students taken over a neighborhood.  It happened in Garrett Hill and it is a shame.  The Radnor BOC allowed it to occur and at least one board member made money from it. 

Outtathere said

What you describe as taking place in your community is clearly discriminatory. You would not find ongoing drug activity and open drug deals taking place for very long in neighboring sections of Tredyffrin before they were shut down and people arrested. Yet in your neighborhood, the authorities are unresponsive.

You might contact the Pennsylvania State Police, who I believe intervene in areas where there is not effective local policing taking place. Of course you'd probably have to provide thorough documentation of your complaints going unaddressed, but I'd just bet that you have all that at the ready.

 

I would suggest your County Sheriff.  I have seen college kids evicted from a house  in a wealthly neighbor by a Sheriff.

 

 

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