Saturday, December 13, 2014

Citizens against Prosperity

 Nothing brings out the “Citizens against Everything” like energy related projects.  Our area of eastern Pa is crissed crossed with energy related pipelines and Power transmission towers.  The recent plan to increase the amount of natural gas that flows through Forks Township has waken up opposition to energy.

Why do we need more energy?  Because we are using more energy, you are using more energy.  While the size of your house has not increased your cell phone, TV and appliances have grown in size.  My flip phone still operates almost a full week without recharging many of you can’t get through a single day without plugging it in.  While you demand more energy we are taking demolishing older power plants and they need to be replaced.

I always ask this question of those who believe that the chairman of Exxon should be imprisoned.  Where do you believe the electric to run your house and the gasoline to operate your car will come from?  Wind power and solar have issues you don’t understand mostly they may not work when you use the most power and wind and solar can’t be stored until it’s needed. 

The angry rebuttal I always get when I speak on Forks Township is “you don’t even live in Forks Township”  my answer is my business is located here and I spend more time in Forks Township then some of the residents who just sleep here.   

The next question I will asked is would you want a pipeline near your house.  I don’t need to answer that because 100’ outside my bedroom window I have an 18” a 24” and 2 - 36” high pressure Natural Gas Pipelines.  I watched them being built I feel they are safer than a sleepy truck driver or a train running over rotted out tracks.  Oh yes I never got a penny in compensation because the right of way was sold years before I built my house.

Our Country was built with accessible natural resources.  Without energy we might look like North Korea where unreliable infrastructure is non-functioning most of the time.

Energy = prosperity it’s simple.

Before you put a “I hate energy” sign in your lawn imagine life without it.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rumors of Fast Food have spread through Forks Township for 20 years.  Mostly they have been rumors.  A few Franchises have taken traffic surveys that however the traffic numbers were insufficient to undertake dealing with a community that shows up with pitch forks and torches whenever a business shows interest in locating here.   Dunkin Donuts and Subway are the only two franchises that have been able to hang on.  A Quiznos tried and failed.   Recently a McDonalds has shown interest in an unused parking lot in the corner of the largest shopping center in the Township. 

Nothing can bring out the hate groups against the free enterprise system like a McDonalds can.  As expected the Citizens against Everything group that have been in opposition to almost every business proposal has reactivated in opposition to the project.   

On Feb 10th a public hearing will be held on the project where the CAE will mobilize the resident’s against free enterprise and property rights.  They will be speaking against this project to a Planning Commission selected by the anti-business faction.

Topics discussed will be healthiness of the food, Traffic, Smell, Crime, and effect on the Children.  This is a area were you can buy a Pizza and a Cheese Steak  at no less than 4 establishments within a 3 min walk of the proposed site. 

This discussion will send the Forks Business and Commerce Association into their bunker to so they can avoid controversy.  My pro-business comments on the Forks Township resident’s Facebook page have riled the “Citizens against Everything”.  Some resident’s comments demand that I shut up because I don’t live here.  I have owned property and operated my business here since 1985.  I spend more hours here then the people who just sleep here  I stood by myself when CAE prevented my expansion.  I will speak up, and continue to speak up.   For those who want to silence my comments, don’t mind if I personally question your intelligence

Monday, June 17, 2013

Band Tarp Update

Update on the Band (Shell) Tarp.  The non acoustic 4 posts with a tarp stretched across the top started falling apart before it was finished.  Cracks Developed in the Concrete slab.  The Steps were not level and needed to be replaced and the tarp was torn and patched.  Final cost is unknown but a $350,000.00 price tag is used.  It was used for a few events last summer however the promised gathering point for the community is mostly attracting the followers of the particular Band Performing.

The Contractor who is responsible for the shoddy construction and damage is missing in Action.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cottage in the Woods

Forks Township and the Cottage in the Woods.
I have followed this story since 2002 the story started before many of the current Township Officials even took up residence in Forks Township. 

Back in 2002 Forks Supervisors reinterpreted a rule that covered builders impact fees and decided they could confiscate land instead of collecting builders impact fees.  In taking a few acres of land that adjoined the community park. They forced a builder to completely redesign his development at a cost of 10’s of thousands of dollars, and caused further distress, and tens of Thousands of dollars to a Family trying to settle an estate.

Quickly the intended use of this land was changed from open space to Athletic fields that would be put under the control of the Private Sports Club “Forks Township Youth Sports”  The residents of Lafayette Park Complained that not only that Baseballs would be hit into there yards but since the proposed Ball Fields were landlocked access would be through there yards and Parking would block there Streets.

Concerns were ignored and Forks Township started Construction of the Ball Fields.  From what I have been told the first attempt to level and seed the fields failed when the contractor misread the plans. I have heard this cost the Taxpayers for that fiasco was $40.000.00. In recent years excavating has continued but the Township has still been unable to complete a single Ball Field.

I understand that the Cottage and it’s 6 acres of woods were purchased in 2002 and the House just to the West of it was purchased a few years ago.  I don’t think there was a particular plan for ether property until the Township addressed lack of Parking Issues at the Community Park and Recreation  Center. (more on that later)

As the 5 year Recreation Plan was written lack of Parking was addressed.  The Plan was to remove the House, the 6 acres of dense woods, and build an entrance and Parking lot to provide access to the Ball Fields. When this plan became public there was opposition to the plan of tearing down a perfectly good house, destroying 6 acres of wildlife Habitat just to provide a parking lot.

There are many problems with this Plan that Forks Township Officials have not addressed, however they seem to have focused the discussion on 2 points. 1 the cost to tear down the “Cottage in the Woods” at $9000.00 verses the cost to refurbish the Cottage at $23,000.00.  The Cost of refurbishing the Cottage is based on non professional estimates, the cost of Demolition only covers removing the Cottage and not the total cost of the Project.

I estimate the Parking Lot Project at a total cost of several Hundred Thousand Dollars.  Just imagine the Cost to remove hundreds of Trees, remove and recycle hundreds of Tree Stumps, and strip the topsoil fill and pave.  There is still questions about acquiring Permits, drainage and storm runoff issues, and Environmental questions.  Forks Township Officials have avoided addressing the costs of the total Project. 

In the past few Months several options have been discussed for the “Cottage in the Woods”  The Forks Township Arts Society have proposed remodeling the House for meetings and Art Programs.  The House could be Subdivided, Sold, and returned to the Tax Rolls, while the Woods could become a picnic area or walking trails.

I have written this from what I have heard and read over the years.  Unfortunatly much of the discussion was not recorded in the minutes of the Supervisors of Recreation Board. Any Additions of Corrections would be appreciated.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who We Elect

 When we choose a candidate for National office we choose the candidate that most represents our views. When we elect a candidate for local office we expect to have enough access to the official that they will represent a majority of the residents. We would hope that they would research projects that are out of there expertise before approving the project.

Unfortunately those who win elections believe there success is because of there intelligence rather then the winner of a popularity contest. The winner’s perceived IQ immediately jumps 50 points as now they are experts in everything.

In Forks Township and many other Communities elected officials jump into projects that are over there heads. They then hire so called experts who exploit there lack of understanding of a project to there own financial gains.

 We see this with the Band Shell and the Public Works Building. In the many redraws of the Band Shell Forks Township has spent over $80,000.00 and still a shovel hasn‘t hit the ground. The Public Works Building is more then a million dollars over recent estimates.
To make up the defecate Supervisors will break into the emergency finds. One day when the emergency funds are needed we will only have a box full of I Owe You’s

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Forks Township Band Shell

Forks Township Band Shell, Amphitheater, or call it what it is “A shaded Skate Park” was started 4 years ago as a retirement tribute to 2 outgoing Supervisors. Plan 1 cost $40,000.00 to draw, plus a few thousand more in review costs. If I remember the lowest bid was $350,000.00 and Supervisord deemed this too high.

Plan 2 was to tweak plan one. The Restrooms, Parking, and most of the Hardscaping and Landscaping were removed. This plan still bid out too high. The recently approved plan is nothing more then a Sun Shade stretched over a Concrete Pad. No Acoustics, weather protection, Parking or Restrooms. The Price $250,000.00 and what will it be used for and what will it cost to put on an event, who will pay for it.

The 19th century Band Shell was the center of the community before Air Conditioning Amplification and Radio. In today’s Air Conditioned Society an outdoor weather dependant facility has little use. From the start this facility had little support outside of the Board of Supervisors.

Let’s discuss the events Supervisors plan for this facility

Puppet shows: A puppet show is a very intimate event, where small groups of Children gather around a small stage to watch a show. Seeing the plans for this facility the Puppet Stage would 15 feet from the closest seating. It’s hard to believe we can’t put on a puppet show without these facilities. We have the main Recreation Facilities, The Wrestling Center and several Pavilion’s with seating parking and Rest Room Facilities.

Movies: The Cost of putting on a single show could cost a few thousand dollars. To show a Movie Forks Township would need to hire a company with Outdoor Projection and Sound Equipment. Put aside another $1000.00 for portable Rest Rooms, and unless the Supervisors are showing 1940’s Army Training Films Licensing Fees need to be paid. (You can’t just go to Net flicks and rent a movie to be shown commercially.

Live Entertainment: Yes you can get a Crappy Garage Band for free but, even hiring a band for a few hundred dollars the additional costs of hiring Security, Electrical Engineer and renting Bathroom Facilities will add $2000.00 to the event. Did anyone consider with no built in Acoustics or sound barriers how the amplification will affect the residents nearby. The Speakers will be pointed towards the homes

Supervisors have been touting the ability to shake down the Business Community to build and operate this facility. However the Business Community hasn’t been beating down the doors for the naming rights of this Facility even after Supervisors started a Business Group to fund projects like this.

What would be a good name? “________ Pizza Pavilion.

The Business Community is hurting and Forks Township Supervisors have done little to support them in the past

This Project will cost taxpayers $350,000.00 or more before it is finished. It was approved with little Public input or a test.

What do I mean by a Test? Forks Township could have rented a Temporary Band Shell for some trial events or put on test events at some of our other facilities.

The Band Shell in the Picture can be rented. This structure is capable of withstanding weather that would make the current design unusable.

The last time I checked the cost to purchase the Band Shell in the picture was about $20,000.00 or ½ the price of the first set of plans Supervisors Scrapped

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Disclaimer

The Disclaimer

My issues with the “Youth Sports” Program are not the need and value of Youth Sports Programs but the Management and Cost of the programs. Large taxpayer expenditure goes to one private organization with a narrow recreation focus with higher then average costs. I don’t see a financial statement or accounting of these funds on the Web Site. While Adult, Family and other Forks Township Youth Programs not only go un-funded and do not have the same privileges to use Forks Townships Public Recreation Facilities, Something needs to be said.

Why should the Tax Payers pay for your kids Soccer Tournament?