Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Code Enforcement Pro and Con

Today 2 folks had something to say to me about my letter concerning the Millville rental fee increase. The first one can be read here The 2nd letter can be read below. I really find the comments in red pretty silly. Millville has a real problem with slumlords and the city must maintain an agressive stance and not be a dumping ground for bogus slumlords. They make the majority of the landlords look bad. Go to the Friends of Millville website and see for yourself how slumlords(most live out of town) harm the quality of life here in Millville but of course the writer below might not be aware.

Millville should work with landlords and tenants, not drive them away
The News of Cumberland County
Monday June 29, 2009, 8:01 PM

To the Editor:
I must disagree with Mark Krull's recent letter
"Millville rental fee change is not a tax," (The News, June 25) concerning the recent increase in rental inspection fees landlords are now required to pay.
No, it's not a tax. What it is is an unfair increase that, like any increase in cost in a business, falls directly down to the renter with higher security deposits and monthly rent payments that prospective tenants would most likely turn down because they cannot afford.
The majority of landlords in Millville are anything but rich. Neither are their tenants.

Unlike Mr. Krull with his college degree and comfortable city job, these people work very hard at regular jobs to keep their homes and provide for their families, and the incomes from their rental properties help keep them above water in this economy.
The city commission should work with the landlords and tenants together to help bring their properties up to code and improve the urban communities.

Driving African-American, Hispanic, poor, low-income and working people out of Millville simply because they seem to bother Mr. Krull, Carl Johnson and others who've supported the present city commission's campaigns last May, which no doubt seems to be their intent, is a funny way in my view of improving the inner city.
George I. AndersonMillville

See more in Letters to the

Life During Recession

An email from an old friend:
Hi mark,Life on our end has been very stressful, Janey had a near breakdown when her Boss did not support her during a fight that broke out in her office between a husband and wife. Plus Bevis has been a nightmare, we had to send him to a military school in VA for 5 weeks so he could make up two classes he fucked up in. Also to get him away from his asshole friends who have not been the best influence. They are a page from the losers are us handbook. On top of that my parents have been having a string of health problems that I have had to deal with almost every weekend since Feb so Janey has been flying solo with the kid. Lots of stress. I will tell her to get ahold of you at some point when things calm down. Hope all is well with you . Let me know whats up.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Millville Block Party

Yesterday Saturday June 27th, I went to the Millville Block Party to hand out info about the Millville Arts, Antiques and Music Festival. Its to be held Sunday Sept 13th. While I was waiting to hear from Keith where Jim might be. I ran into some friends such as Dottie Carl, Liz, Joe. The real surprise is that I ran into Lou Magazzu. He was very friendly and said that I was of Magazzuwatch.com. I said now my political career is ruined. It was in the sprit of clean Summertime fun on a perfect day. See for yourself today.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Artists Nite and Police Activity

Last night was artists nite and it was a nice evening to see friends. June artists nites are always full of surprises. Well the only surprise is when I got home and saw 5 cops in front of my house on Pine Street. The police told me that there was a BIG fight at the house across the street from ours. It was broken-up by the time I got there. My neighbors and Steve missed the action. I did of course manage to get photos of the scene. The house is owned by the Harvey's. He is the brother of the old Police Cheif Harvey. I will be keeping an eye out on that house this Summer

Locaton of the New Millville High School

The Millville Board of Education released the 8 sites of where a new High School might be located.
The eight locations under consideration by the Millville Board of Education for a new high school include:
East Main Street, east of Holly Heights -- 100 acres
West Main Street, west of Nabb Avenue -- 68.5 acres
West Main Street, west of Smith Road -- 82 acres
West Main Street, east of Smith Road -- 74 acres
West Main Street, west of Hogbin Road -- 61 acres
Cedarville and Buckshutem roads -- 60-80 acres
Gorton Road in the Industrial Park -- 80 acres
Cedarville Road, across from Bogden Boulevard -- 70 acres

This school is going to be so large that NO sites are in center of Millville. This means more busing and less children can walk to school. Kids living in Center City and Third Ward will be most inconvienced. I suppose this is progress. My belief is the first one listed above, the 100 acre site is the preferred site. The Daily Journal had to file an OPRA request to get this information. This is what I have heard. According to The Daily Journal:

"Business Administrator Bryce Kell said if an agreement is reached, the board will pass a resolution at its July 20 meeting to officially submit the three finalists to the SDA. The authority will then begin to negotiate for the land. The district has considered properties all over the city, and ultimately came up with a list of 25 potential candidates, including a few owned by the city. The district pared down that list to the final eight, based on various factors, including potential price"
I hope I have time to attend this July 20 meeting and I think that folks need to show up at school board meetings. This is our children's future and your tax dollars.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Feeholders: Lets Have an Open Space Plan!!

I read in all 3 local papers that the County Freeholders are considering an Open Space study at their July 1st Freeholder meeting
Now didn't the County Taxpayers approve the tax already? Get real!! Do they REALLY need a study. Its just more delay until after the election. The public has consistantly supported open space so why the delays? County taxpayers already pay for an open space tax for farmland preservation. The County's urban areas do not benefit from farmland preservation like the rural municipalities. An open space PLAN is necessary for open space tax money to be spent on non-farmland preservation. An open space plan will set aside money for unprotected open space for recreational use such as public parks. 15 years ago, Cumberland County Residents approved funding for open space.
Why, 15 years later does Lou Magazzu feel the need for a STUDY and not a PLAN for open space? Well, I believe this is because Mr. Magazzu is running for re-election and conducting a study creates the appearence of doing SOMTHING about open space without REALLY geting it done. Just last September, the Feeholders stated that open space was not a priority!!
I hope readers of this newspaper will come to the July 1st Freeholders meeting and let Lou and his co-horts at the Freeholder board know that the time for an open space plan is NOW, not after the election .In closing, an open space PLAN will improve the quality of life in Cumberland County and make the county more attractive for residents and tourists alike.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Graphic Therapy & The Great Recession

I was unable to sleep and decided to noodle on my facebook. I found a friend Emily who has this draws web-comic called GRAPHIC THERAPY . I really got hooked on it. I saw her alot when she went to college at Penn. She is a close friend of Wes, who I have known since 3rd grade back in the horrible early 70's learning "new math" and the civilization of UR now a part of Iraq. Anyway she writes about Craig Rabinowitz. He is the most infamous of the Lower Merion Class of 1981. It was bigger then OJ Simpson in the Philly Daily News. In short he spent $$$ on a stripper named "Summer", then killed his wife in the bathtub for the insurance.
Anyhow, its going to feel like Summer by Thursday and Friday this week. It may hit 90 by Friday. Meanwhile the Great Recession drags on. An example here in Millville is the Millville Jet Center is closing at the end of this month closing at the end of this month. At least Millville and the Millville Housing Authority are trying to help . It may drag down President Obama as well. If that happens will we end up with President Palin or President Newt?? I am going to predict right now that once again health care reform will die on the vine. Congress is so beholden to special intrests in the health care industry that its impossible for them to work for us who need a real health care reform. A public plan like single payer would be the most efficiant solution but this is the good ole US of A. Hate to be pessimistic but watching CSPAN is quite interesting.
Here in Millville the city had to cut the Fireworks and the children's activities and of course a member of Millville First has to argue that increased code enforcement is a bad thing. Would he be happier if his real estate taxes go up to pay for the 33K that his mentor the Judge is costing the city? Just courious.......
Well, time to get more shut eye..Bye

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday with Maher!

I was made aware of this from Bill Maher. Its is last New Rules for 2 weeks and its a good one. Its raining again and I am running late for for work. Here is a photo of our gallery. Going to visit my mother on Wedsnesday and Carolyne will check Wegman's Supermarket. Never been to one but it get kudos everywhere.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

3rd Friday at Fithian House Gallery

We had a nice gathering and Tim Shannon treated us to his yummy shrimp! Love that shrimp! Folks enjoyed the backyard and the art. Below is an article in the AC Press in the Sat june 20 editon

Millville celebrates its beloved pirate
Third Friday memorializes noted local artistPrint this Article
By EDWARD VAN EMBDEN, Staff Writer, 856-
MILLVILLE - On the porch, beneath a black flag with skull and crossbones, a pirate pulled on his groaning accordion and sang a sea chantey about a treasure lost.
A crowd gathered - many dressed in their fine pirate wear, some in bandanas, and others wearing bemused looks - and enjoyed tales about the high seas and good times at this Third Friday celebration.
A year ago, Millville's own pirate, the Pioneer Artist affectionately known as Don the Pirate, died. Referred to as "the conscience of the Arts District," Donald Cossaboon-DeGregorio was memorialized Friday with a night dedicated to the most seaworthy.
Mayor Tim Shannon and his wife, Leslie, came dressed in their own pirate clothing for the affair. Shannon, wearing a pin that read "What would Don do?" remembered the man who once brought a sledgehammer to city hall and asked the commission to tear down a blighted apartment complex.
"You think about a wild spirit, someone that really cared more about the city than anyone, that was Don," Shannon said. "I'm sure he's looking down, wearing his pirate garb, probably with a bottle of rum by his side."
Cossaboon-DeGregorio was an outspoken leader for the downtown's revitalization. Millville's last Pioneer Artist, number 13, Cossaboon-DeGregorio died at the age of 28.
A metalsmith by trade, Cossaboon-DeGregorio owned a shop downtown and was known for making both fine and pirate jewelry. The idea of honoring his life on Third Friday started soon after his death.
Third Friday is a monthly event that showcases the artists and merchants of Millville's Glasstown Arts District. The event always features live entertainment with musicians on nearly every block of High Street in the center of the city's downtown and typically hosts thousands of people.
At the Fithian House Gallery, members of Cossaboon-DeGregorio's pirate crew talked about their good friend. Captain Joe Pantilione of Vineland said Cossaboon-DeGregoiro's personality and friendship will be missed most.
"He's left a big hole in our crew," he said. "There was always something interesting going on whenever he was around."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

$33,000 and Counting...

This is the amount that Retired Judge Paul Porecca's lawsuit has cost the Millville Taxpayer..SO FAR!!
Lets see, that could pay for the the $24,000 for Summer fun for kids for the Terrific Tuesdays program, which entertained hundreds of kids a week at Corson Park for six consecutive Tuesday afternoons. The city will cut down this program due to budget cuts. This is just not right and nobody from the press has said a peep. Well, this lawsuit has cost the TAXPAYER of Millville 33,000 and the odomiter is STILL running.
Also the city is raising rental fees to pay for increased code enforcement. Kudos to Commissioner Dale Finch for proposing it. Nice job Dale!! Also he handled the retired Judge's questioning with poise. See the video below for yourself. It is very obvious that code enforcement is a problem I know I live in Center City and I participate in Dottie's Walk on Monday nights at 6pm. The city must stay vigilent on this issue to improve the quality of life in Millville. If the judge is so concerned with higher taxes and fees, he ought to drop his lawsuit. Also Steve Durst defended the tax abatements that Union Lake Crossing receives. Another blogger R.D Owens covers this issue well. I would state in response that the Union Lake Crossing has done pretty good considering how severe this recession is presently.

"C" is for Cookie and That's Good Enough for Me

Well, its now Tuesday and we are already in mid June 2009. Third Friday is right around the corner. I read the Millville Board of Education last night hired Community Health to offer free health care for more students. While this is laudable this agency, has under the leadership of Gil Walter, has received money through Tri-County which is closely tied to Freeholder Director Lou Magazzu. You can read more on http://www.magazzuwatch.com/.
Type in "Community Health" under the search and look for the Feb 20th entry. This site digs deep in the political swamp which is County politics. I notice that almost none of this info is EVER reported in the local media.
The Millville Board of Education is now looking at 8 to 10 possible locations. As the Daily Journal reports:
"Board member Mike Beatty said the plan includes the number of rooms for the proposed 357,00-square-foot building. The district formed a committee comprising district administrators, staff and members of the public that met last week and began reviewing potential sites for the school's location. The committee will meet again next Thursday, said Beatty, who said the committee is reviewing "eight to 10" potential sites."

This photo was taken early this morning in front of our gallery. This video was taken yesterday morning. This truck was weaving going north on Rt 55. Man, it was pretty scary so I decided to tape it just in case. Thank God I was able to pass it and move along It is owned by an outfit called Triple Crown. You can read their safety tips. Well the only tip I notice is NOT to TIP OVER!!! As far as I know it did not crash!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cleaning Up

Its Sunday June 14th. The week was busy taking care of business and not really blog worthy so to speak. The weather has remained cool enough not to have to use AC. I am pleased about that for sure. I got my car back from the body shop and they did a decent job on it. I am thinking of selling it. Kelly Blue Book states I can sell for some decent change. We shall see about that but now that the VW Bus is now going to be street legal after we go to a mechanic. The video is from June 9th while driving to work via Rt 55. This storm created hail soon after this was taken. It was a feirce storm for sure!! Going to clean up and dry up for the future. 3rd Friday is next week and we need to get ready for that for sure. My brother's birthday is June 19th as well. Too bad he lives in MD or I would have him come down.
Now time to walk the dogs and have a large pizza with the neighbors. Have a good week.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Location of the "Wall of Education

The photo and video here where the mall meets Lakeside Middle School is where the 8 Foot wall is to be constructed. Say goodbye to the cute little trees. Anyway I now read that the County is thinking that saving green space for recreational perposes might be a dandy idea . Of course now Big Lou will co-opt it for his election campaign. Any fool can see that Cumberland County NEEDS an open space plan. We shall see.

Millville Bikefest June 6 2009

Saturday June 6th was the Millville Bikefest . The sun was out towards the end of the day but a decent crowd came out. I first played some tennis at 6:30 to about 7:30 Then I went to help Steve out since someone tried to steal his car at the Vineland Salvation Army. I drove to dump my hazardous waste (paint etc) in Bridgeton. Later on, Jon and strolled around to see the sights and had a GREAT chicken barbacue sponsered by the Levoy Theatre Preservation Society .

Friday, June 05, 2009

All in All its Just Another Brick in the Wall

Last night the zoning board approved the Millville School Board request to build an 8 foot tall wall that will be over 300 feet long to separate the Lakeside Middle school from the mall nearby. This ends a long and contentious battle between the mall's develper Goodman Properties and the Millville Board of Education . As the lawyer representing the school board stated, there was to be more space between the mall and the school. In other words, there was to be a larger natrial buffer between Lakeside Middle School and the mall developer Goodman Properties. Now I do believe this. I do remember while the mall was being developed, the developer cleared more trees since they had "an outdated map" They said it was an accident but we can see that it certainly was no such thing.
Well, I have been pretty skeptical that an 8 foot wall was REALLY necessary. The only reason that this wall come up for zoning board consideration is that 6 feet is the limit and the Board of Education wanted an 8 foot wall. At the zoning hearing, the school board's lawyer and the head of facilities management gave 3 reasons why the wall was needed. They were ranked in this order
1. Noise reduction
2. Blocking view of trucks driving in. (distracts students)

Now I admit I was not expecting 2 items to rank above safety. I called it the "racetrack argument" the fact that noise was the #1 reason for building this wall. I think this argument was very clever and it seemed to win over one of the skeptics on the zoning board. Argument #2 convinced others since they school board pointed out there are classrooms facing the mall lot. Safety was not discussed at length but I believe a 6 foot wall would have sufficed. It was conpaired to the walls they build near interstate highways and we all know they look ugly. The Board of Educatoin states they will plant trees to beautify this area. I really don't buy that but time will tell. This $700,000 wall is being paid by Goodman Properties not by the Millville taxpayer. I think the Board of Ed "punished" Goodman for reneiging on their promise to build it years ago. This result will be the Great Wall of Education.
This blog will feature photos of before during and after this project is complete. By the way the vote was 6-1 in favor of this wall

Sheena Santiago Responds to Lou Magazzu

This is in www.magazzuwatch.com
Go to the title Sheena bares her numbers
Sheena Santiago Says: June 4, 2009 at 7:47 pm
Knotu,Would you like to debate about the debt Vineland Municipal Electric Utility bought from Atlantic Electric? Would you rather talk about how many hundreds of thousands of $ you made between 2000 and 2008 from the City of Vineland? You have to hide behind a fake name I don’t, I say it like it is. Ah by the way I double checked the conversation we had, remember? 5/09/09 and you made the call at 4:29 P.M. not 4:22.
I tell you again, you don’t scare me, I am not afraid of you and your intimidating tactics don’t work on me. I have never exchanged my help for any government job. You know it better than anyone else. Did I ever asked you for any jobs in return for helping you? The answer is no. I believed in you and you turned out to be a bully, dictator and power hungry.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Odd Day

Well it was a odd sort of day. First I see a dead dear on the way to work where RT55 nears the merge to RT 42. I think got keys from a pet sitting customer who showed off his pet corn snake. This snake was belly full from a mouse that he just ate. When I arrived at work I got a call about the untimely death of Emil Van Hook. That was a shock since he came close to winning a City Commmission seat just last month. At work the Department of Public Welfare's network was down half of the day. I cleaned my desk and left work early. Nowadays, work can't be done with out a network connection. I paid a visit to a friend who has this dreary apt. You can see that in one of the photos.
I drove home in the rain half of the trip. I had the most rain from Glassboro to Malaga. As soon as I hit Vineland the road was bone dry. In fact Millville did not get rain till about 7:30pm. That was over an hour later. I stopped over at Rich's house and had a cold one and did some catching up. Today I read that the Pedestrian Bridge will get handicaped ramps built by volunteers. This is good new but I am bummed that it can not be used this summer because of "bidding "issues".
Oh well, better late then never.
I don't know about you my dear reader but I LIKE this cool wet weather. No AC's to run ($$) and the grass and trees are very green. Well off to work and stuff.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Emil Van Hook RIP

Emil VanHook passed away this morning. He was one of the founding members of Millville First .
He had been ill for awhile. May he rest in peace.

Commuting & Comments of June 3rd

Its Wednesday now and its looking like more thunderstorms are on the way. The NJ primary was pretty anti-climactic for sure. As a Democrat, there were no real choices except for Lauren VanEmbden. Steve Lonagan the mayor of the Bogeta Casino lost so no tax increase for folks making less then 40K. Oh well.
The independent Dems have picked a campaign manager and turned in their petitions. This is making big Lou nervous. Sources tell me that he is making deals with a certain Republican to run a "clean" campaign. Oh really??? Also he is applying pressure to remove person''s from certian positons. If the Republicans fall for this one well, they will get beat by Lou again. This is why we need strong independent Democrats with experience and good ethics.
As for Chris Christie, well I will reserve judgement on him for now.
Yesterday, traffic was really crappy. I drove my KIA loaner car though nice traffic jams. Driving down Chestnut Street near 30th, I noticed that the old 30th post office is being renovated. The University of Pennsylvania bought the building. We will see what its going to be. I think it will be offices and stores but I am not sure. I then walked our dogs at the foot of the Maurice River at the city park. That was nice for sure. Work on our backyard Studio is moving along as you can see from the the photo. The Fithian House Gallery will be featured in the "My Art, My Millville" advertising campaign for this 3rd Friday.
I missed the early City Commission meeting yesterday. I hear that the Millville First members were the ONLY folks who did not stand and applaud a Millville Policeman retiring after 23 years on the force. Now that is class. The city is holding the tax rate steady and reducing hours at Union Lake to save money. This is showing that the present City Commission is being honest stewards of our taxpayer money and why a majority who voted entrusted them for 4 more years.
Anyway my 2001 Toyota Corolla should be back by NEXT Friday. I have some pet sitting gigs to work on this week and meeting someone to get his keys in old Philly. That man who raped the 11 year old got some good old street justice yesterday. I do not like violence but in this case this creep deserved it. Its good folks cared enough to stop him till the police arrived.
Well, off to my 50 mile commute. The Toyota is at 91,500 and counting to over 25,000 miles per year.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Accident on theThe Schuylkill Expressway

What a way to start June!??! I was driving to work in Philly and got off the Schuylkill Expressway at the Univercity City Exit and then the damned traffic stopped suddenly and BLAM! I hit a Lexus wagon at the rear. That thing is a TANK! She got a puncture on the bumper and I got a smashed front head light and a bent hood. Well, waited for the state police (yup the state police patrols interstates in Pa) and of couse a tow truck was there in 5 min.
It was a 15 MPH accident (I think) and no one was hurt. Well, I am sure GEICO will show me some hurt when this done. The voice mail did have an option that went like this: "If this was your 1st claim..."
What a drag. On the bright side our boss at the Philadelphia County gave $10 gift cards. I look forward to using mine at Chillis.