Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Daily Journal Forums: DONE!!!

Like many folks I participated in the Daily Journal Forums. For those who might not know, they are the comments after articles written by a professional reporter.
Also like everyone on these forums, I made up a screen name. After about 2 years of responding to the critics of the Arts District, funding of the Levoy, the Commissioners, the racetrack, I am calling it quits. There is no point in having a discussion with people who make personal attacks knowing who I am but NEVER divulging who they are.
It came to a head in Saturday's Daily Journal. There was an article concerning that Millville developments are shedding their age restrictions. I as Slappythedoorman wrote:

I am sure that you all who write do care about the towns you live in. Would you rather see abandoned housing projects rather then being given a 2nd chance in the worst economy since the Great Depression?
Have any of you been to a zoning board or planning board meeting in Millville or Vineland? Well, I have and NOBODY SHOWS UP!! They are held once a month on the first Thursday in Millville and I am sure Vineland has a regular meeting date as well.
I encourage all of you who are upset and disagree with this turn of events to show up and be a part of solution in this poor economy. Its time to put up or shut up. This is assuming that you care.

Yes, I was provocative but I was trying to engage. I also did not make personal and vulgar comments. Part of my tone is reading this stuff over and over. Here are 2 responses I received:

baitnswitcharue wrote:
You people that bought homes in the age restricted developement be sure to visit slappythedoormans' art gallery .
Mark where is the Fithian House Gallery ? I'm sure these folks you told to SHUT UP would just love to come to your place and voice their concerns to you personally.
Now when you go there take some chapstick and toilet paper for mark, his lips get sore from kissing so much butt downtown while begging for tax hand outs from US. The TP, so he can clean the butts before he kisses them.

How about this gem:

Oh, Just Shut Up ! Right Mark ! Take your own advice, you butt munch welfare queen. Tough crap if you bought a home in an Adult Community. They allowed for a higher density of homes because they said there wouldn't be so many people living there.

Why have ZONING LAWS ?

Maybe the idiot Mark should just SHUT UP !
Now you people that got screwed over stop in and patronize his failed business, maybe he'll stop begging for hand outs downtown. Never mind our new governor took care of his wagon, Ha, ha loser. Have a happy UEZ day ? ha,ha,ha...

Now is this real discourse? No more spelunking in this cesspool of haters. I have no time for those who just want to attack for their jollies. Let someone else engage them. If anyone wishes to comment, anonymous comments will now be blocked in keeping with my stance.

Yesterday the 27th!

It was a nice day as nice as you will find THIS winter of 2010. We went to Ostara Yoga and got some good stretching going on. Next we went to Isabelle's and bought some paintings and talked for awhile.< We took the dogs to Fortesque and that was pleasant. The dogs really enjoyed running, sniffing and doing dog things on a sunny Saturday afternoon. As we got home we saw Dennis and Linda and they came over and hung out for a little while. It was good to see them again. We ended the day with each getting a veggie dog with jalapeno, onions, and guacamole. Mmm, that was good.
I guess I will be due to talk about politics soon. There is much to discuss. One being the UEZ money being frozen and the future of the Arts District, RRCA and the Levoy. There will be PLENTY of time later for that.
This day was made to enjoy.

Friday February 26th

I woke up in Philly with blowing snow as you can see in the video at the 46th Street El Stop. It turned out that was the worst of it and the blizzard was a bust, by this winter's standards.
After this week I was ready to just sleep and I slept very well. I hear in the paper we may get a ANOTHER STORM next week. No flower show this year!

February 25th The Blizzard that Wasn't

When I last wrote here, there were ominous signs that we were in for another windy snowstorm. Well I woke up to light snow and it was pretty though the ride though Newfield and the other small towns on the way to Philly. I was talking to folks on the bus and we all were concerned about getting home. I was going to take the car but that did not work out so I took my chances. I had lots of chores on this Thursday and a blizzard would not have been helpful. I went to 48th and Cedar for a dog walk and met my friend Jon who I have not seen in awhile. He was on the way to work. He did decide to say in W. Philly to raise his kids. Work was next. I worked hard on carfare stuff which I can not photo nor video or find myself in hot water. After working 8 hrs, I then went on my odyssey of errands. I took the Market El to 30th Street and took the 10 Trolley to 35th and Lancaster to pick up new keys for the 48th and Cedar dog owner who was away in warm Arizona, then to St Bernard Street between Chester Ave and Springfield Ave for a cat feeding. I then walked to 48th and Cedar, took the trolley to 30th Street then the El to 40th. From there I went to the bank, then got a case and walked to my friend Pat and that was the end of the day. Turns out when I woke up there was not too much snow early Friday morning...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Calm Before the Storm

Good morning. Its now 5:23am and the snow is falling here in Cumberland County. I will head out to work and see what happens. As the map shows Cumberland County will get less snow and the northern Philly suburbs will get the big hit. Here is the Philly news: "The storm is forecast to become a potent and peculiar nor'easter that will become a "bomb" off the Jersey coast. It will take a bizarre path, paralleling the coast and then jogging inland near New York City and remaining stationary.
"I haven't seen anything like it," said Greg Heavener, a meteorologist at the weather service's Mount Holly office.
When the storm peaks later tomorrow and tomorrow night, it is expected to hammer the region with long-lasting and powerful winds, with gusts up to 50 m.p.h. not out of the question, said Henry Margusity, a meteorologist with Accu-Weather Inc.

Well, here is 48th and Cedar yesterday Feb 24th where I walk a dog this week. Just as the snow is disappearing, more snow is falling as I type. Its now 5:13am. The photo is outside my bedroom when I got up. Up to a foot is supposed to fall. Here is what the paper says.

Cumberland County could see up to a foot of snow, according to the National Weather Service.
Snow was expected to start falling early today and continue through noon Friday, with the heaviest accumulation happening Thursday night into Friday morning.
Strong winds, with gusts up to 30 mph, could cause blowing and drifting snow.
The weather service is also warning that the storm is likely to produce heavy, wet snow that could hang on power lines.The Weather Service issued winter storm warnings Wednesday afternoon for all 21 counties in New Jersey.
Forecasters say up to 18 inches could fall in northern areas, while 12 to 16 inches was expected in central and most southern areas and 4 to 8 inches in extreme southern Jersey. Winds gusting up to 30 mph were also forecast.
The precipitation was expected to start as rain or wet snow late Wednesday night, then change over to all snow during the overnight hours. The heaviest snow was expected to fall this afternoon and evening, then taper off by Friday morning.

Well, got to go now...Have a safe day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Snow Again??

I am too tired to blog now. I am tired....Now its going to snow again.
One photo is a place I am walking a large black lab and the landlord is changing the keys this week, so I have to go to Urban and Bye this Thurs to get the new keys.
The other is the 34 Trolley. The blue hue came out pretty cool.
Well, more overwork at work and more dog walking but hey a letter more $$
No word from the ABG about my working the Philly Flower Show..umm..recession??

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Twin Peaks Art Exibit: April 2nd 2010

Come join us!!
Type: Music/Arts - Exhibit
Start Time: Friday, April 2, 2010 at 6:00pm
End Time: Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 12:00am





We have been renting the show and enjoying it. Carolyne's work will be part of the show!!
The weather should be a vast improvement!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Legacy of Millville First

MILLVILLE -- As Luke Kornbluh flipped the "Closed" sign for Looking Glass Café at 1:15 p.m. Sunday, a customer looked on from the street and asked how long the business would be closed.
"Forever," Kornbluh answered through the front window.
The Looking Glass shut its doors Sunday after nearly seven years in the Glasstown Arts District. Café owner Kornbluh said a rescinded tax abatement from the city led to a disagreement between him and his landlord over payment of back taxes, which Kornbluh said resulted in his decision to close the business.
His departure is somewhat sudden, the result of "irreconcilable differences" between him and his landlord, Kornbluh said. The matter is part of a civil lawsuit that is scheduled to beheard Thursday before Superior Court Judge James E. Rafferty in Woodbury.
In late 2006 and early 2007, Millville rescinded seven tax abatements from companies that previously had filed for the benefit. The reason: The companies had missed a 30-day deadline to file necessary paperwork after they were issued a certificate of occupancy. A watchdog group, Millville First, initially alerted the city to the paperwork problem.
One of the abatements was for the café's landlord, Aliano Bros. of Vineland, for the property at 12-16 N. High St.
The building's owner, Michael Aliano, declined to discuss the lawsuit Friday.
Kornbluh said the two sides were unable to come to an agreement over how to pay the roughly $11,000 owed in back taxes. He said he's angry at the city's role and that the landlord couldn't come up with a workable solution.
The Looking Glass had offered a menu dominated by sandwiches, wraps, salads and breakfast items.
Aliano said the restaurant will be replaced by a new one, named Quintana's, which will open March 1. The new eatery will offer a similar menu selection as the Looking Glass, said Aliano, who declined to identify the new owner.
"Luke had a great food there, and we have a good restaurant coming in behind them," he said.
Kornbluh, who opened the Looking Glass in July 2003, said he feels he succeeded in creating a nice, quiet place where people could enjoy quality food. The establishment employed 12 to 16 part- and full-time workers, mostly from Millville, he said.
"We were a cornerstone in the district," Kornbluh said, adding he was unsure of his future plans. "I don't know. It's up in the air."
The Vineland resident said he doesn't know if he'll open another restaurant, noting many new eateries have arrived in Millville since he opened the Looking Glass.
"The onset of competition in Cumberland County has been intense," Kornbluh said. "Dining in Cumberland County has become much more diluted than it used to be."

We Celebrate Jay Reichey's Life

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fresh Grocier is Closed

Each Tuesday and Thursday, after I arrive in Philly from my bus ride from Millville, I take a pit stop to the 40th Street Fresh Grocier near Walnut Street to shop for a friend.
My friend calls me and tells me that the store is CLOSED due to L&I ordering it to close. He heard this on KYW.
Well, when I went to see for myself, I was told it was an electrical problem.

NJ Transit a 30% Fare Increase!

I just read in Bob Ingle's column that NJ Transit is going to announce plans to raise fares up to 30%
Yup, when your subsidy goes down, just raise fares. I have heard from a bus driver that NJ Transit is WAY TOP HEAVY. Lets get with the program. I know from riding the bus EVERY DAY that many folks would suffer under a 30% fare hike. This is tax increase for the riding public. If they hold public hearings, my trusty camera and I will be there. Knowing them, I will have to go to Camden since Millville and Vineland are backwater places to the management team up in North Jersey
"The potential fare hike exists because NJ Transit faces a $200 million gap in the fiscal year 2011 budget, due to loss of state subsidy cut last year, and federal funds, which are not available for the coming budget. The Assembly Transportation Committee holds hearing on it Thursday."

The Hidden Cost

As you have read on this blog, and others, about the spending and budget problems facing Cumberland County and Millville these days.
I am still waiting to see if cuts in the hiring of consultants and lawyers can be made. The spending seems to pop up everywhere in boring resolutions passed routinely at County and local meetings. Why??? Local govts do not want to hire permanent full-time employees that would force them to pay full benefits and pensions (Like what Mr. Kavenagh ALMOST got!) The regular staff have credentials and degrees that are general (municipal engineer does not have the expertise in structural engineering) and manpower. Here is an example in Millville NJ concerning a noise expert the city hired.
I was informed that the $1,800 spent was in the budget. The consultant is an expert in noise created by racetracks. With the pending lawsuit by TrackRacket, the city wanted to make sure that they had a third party evaluate their data. In other words this was "extra protection" from the TrackRacket lawsuit This lawsuit will cost more than the consultant I have not heard that the lawsuit by TrackRacket has been officially served. With a potential $2 million shortfall in the budget, Millville City Government will have to continue to find areas that lead to large reductions. The City Commission made a good start with changing health care providers that saved about 1.5 million from the budget.
The biggest cost is legal (aka Lawyers) . Millville, I believe has dozens of lawsuits that cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands dollars every year An example is the Porecca case. I has cost over $70K when it was all done and that does not include the hours of depositions that pulled city employees away from doing their job. It seems that there are police lawsuits every year that drag out. I guess why Republicans cry "Tort Reform"!! We evaluate each potential consultant before we hire them.
At least Millville has developers cover the cost of the consultants when it comes to plan review on projects. More of this creative governing needs to be done and done soon or basic services that most of us expect from our tax dollars (Police, Fire, etc) will suffer while the lawyers prosper. Most lawyers work for more then one local govt. Where in the County budget can a Joe average person find this spending?

Cell Phone Prank

I got this from a friend and thought it was pretty funny

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Smoke and Mirrors in County Govt!!

The world outside myself is short on $$. Last nite the city of Millville stated that they may be over $2 Million in the hole and the County Freeholders are having hearing for the next several Monday nights to allow the public to comment on the Cumberland County budget. I was not able to make but a fellow blogger Robert Owens, did and made excellent comments that blasted past the smoke and mirrors of the County budget. Read it for yourself. I thank him for going out and asking hard questions. I bet the local press gave ole Lou a free pass as usual.

One last thing, why is the city of Millville paying $1,800 for a consultant to study noise studies?? Again its the lawyers and consultants making money while the rest of us face cuts!! Have they no shame??

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Poor Suck.

Why the funky title and photo?? Well I read the Feb 15th Philadelphia Inquirer and they had a very good article about the poor being on welfare. The article states that in hard economic times, there is more resentment towards the poor.
"Last month, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer of South Carolina said that when the government helps the poor, it's like people feeding stray animals that continually "breed."

And just last week, Colorado state legislator Spencer Swalm said poor people in single-family homes are "dysfunctional."
Well, bashing the poor is great for Republicans running in the 2010 Mid-Terms where Obama is a Nazi who coddles the poor
Both statements riled some Americans from the Piedmont to the Rockies and underscored a widely held belief: In tough times, people are tough on the poor."

Futher on, the article tries to explain what makes some folks stay poor.
"Americans don't understand how the poor are victimized by a lack of jobs, inefficient schools, and unsafe neighborhoods, experts say.

"People ignore the structural issues - jobs leaving, industry becoming more mechanized," said Yale sociologist Elijah Anderson, renowned for his study of the Philadelphia poor. "Then they point to the poor and ask, 'Why aren't you making it?'
Underlying negative attitudes toward the poor, experts say, are prejudices toward minorities, who are disproportionately among the indigent.

Twenty-five percent of African Americans, 23 percent of Latinos, and 9 percent of whites live in poverty. Overall, 13 percent of the U.S. population is poor. In Philadelphia, it's closer to 25 percent.

The United States "is very heterogeneous with very little ability to empathize with groups that are poor," said Washington economist Isabel Sawhill. That general lack of empathy can inspire anger toward the poor, especially from the right, experts say.
In Pa there is no 5 year limit since most folks on welfare whould then apply for the State General Assistance program. With the Extended TANF program, the state can continue to use FEDERAL funds instead of STATE funds,
Welfare rolls are down around 60 percent since the mid-1990s,In Pennsylvania, enrollment in welfare (now known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) dropped from 486,985 in 1996 to 217,820 last December, with 75 percent of the recipients children, according to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. In New Jersey, TANF rolls fell from 91,364 in 1997 to 36,738 in 2009, state officials said. Throughout the country, around 4 million people are on welfare, government figures show."
The article does address a real issue to me and many others. Why keep having kids when you can not EVEN afford?
"Attendant to complaints about people on welfare are criticisms of unwed women having babies.

"Unplanned childbearing contributes to poverty," said Sawhill, the economist. Others disagree. "Having a kid is not the problem," O'Brien said. "Growing up in poverty is."

Regardless, many people say they cannot understand why women in poverty have children out of wedlock.

For women living in a depressing world of severely limited means and hopelessness, a child "makes you feel loved and wanted," said Sutton, the Northeast mother of two. "Mostly, we don't love ourselves and make bad choices."
This I suppose leads to generational welfare.

Ashley Ortiz, 24, a currently employed, formerly impoverished single mother with a 3-year-old son in Northern Liberties, said young women often "don't have the building blocks others have to make an easier life, and what do you do when all you know is the example given you?"

"Interestingly, said Edin of Harvard, 72 percent do eventually marry by their 30s."

THAT I can not believe. Stats show that there are MORE then 28% of the poor that have single parent households. I also know from experience that most do not get married.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jan 13th: A Day in West Philly

I was in West Philly making a few extra bucks. The snow was all over the place but it was cool to be there. I walked this dog several times, visited a bar that USED to be Murphy's Tavern back in the day and hung out with Pat. I got a text message from my sister that her oldest daughter were going to visit Penn and I met them at Houston Hall and managed to convince them to go to an Ethiopian restaurant on 45th and Locust Called Abyssinia. The food was great but the wait was over an hour. Wes joined us at the restaurant and he talked about Penn and applying to other 2nd tier colleges.
I then drove Alice and Becky to Dave and Debbie's house and we all chilled out and had a nice time. I had to get home but the the rest of them had some dinner. There are more photos at Picasa to enjoy and share. All in all a good day!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gettting to Work Feb 11th

Well, after Gov. Fast Eddie Rendell proclaimed that all was well with the aftermath of the latest Blizzard that occured on Feb 10th. First off the NJ Transit website said that the buses would start to roll at 6am, then when I called the customer service line, it said 7am and so I waited almost an hour and a half in the cold.Once it did arrive it had to drive REAL slow. Route 47 was a mess along with most of the small roads we had to drive though. The bus almost got stuck at some train tracks in Vineland.
I finally arrived at work at 10:30am. I then had to go to a hearing at 8th and Market streets. This was a complete waste of time since there was NO WAY that my client was going to show up. Remember, the City of Philly was CLOSED, the schools were all CLOSED, folks were asked to STAY OFF THE ROADS, but Fast Eddie did not EVEN give us Pa State Employees a 2 hour delay! In Elmwood District 13 employees WERE ABLE TO COME IN!! I did not get many calls and maybe 5 people came in.
Here's to you Gov Rendell and your show of respect to state employees.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

No Day off for This State Employee

from the state Website.
Not EVEN a 2 Hr Delay for Philadelphia Offices.
Alerts & Advisories
2 Hour Delay in Harrisburg
On Thursday, February 11, 2010, non-essential employees under the Governor's jurisdiction who work in the Capitol Complex and Harrisburg area are authorized to report up to two hours after their normal starting time. Employees in all other work locations are to report to work at their regularly scheduled starting time. Agencies, however, should be as flexible as possible in allowing employees to use annual or personal leave where hazardous road conditions, emergency circumstances, or other related conditions exist.

All partial and full-day closings are subject to the provisions of Management Directive 530.17, "Partial and Full-Day Closings of State Offices."

I just heard on the news that we have had more snow then BUFFALO New York. I just read in Cumberland County does not want folks on the road...
Cumberland County is urging all nonessential vehicles to stay off roads until 3 p.m. Thursday because of the heavy snowfall and extreme drifting.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowstorm Feb 10 2010

Today the storm continued. When I first woke up this morning at 8am, there was not that much snow on the ground AND it was sleeting and raining on and again. I thought it was not the storm it was supposed to be. I could have gone to work. The one photo I did take here shows that the roads were mostly slush. I had a hearty breakfast of pancakes and eggs since I wanted to shovel the slush off before it froze. I had heard changing forecasts that show that the worst of the storm was going to happen after Noon or 1pm We have watched the TV and its nothing but the weather ALL DAY. Unlike the other storms, power lines are down and about 115,000 people are out of electricity. Man, that would REALLY be bad to have no power and be stuck in your house. Only the El and the Broad St lines will run with any regularity and the city of Philadelphia is closed again today. So far the State of Pa has NOT committed to closing tomorrow. I will check NJ Transit for their service if I need to.This storm started last night and put a nice coating of snow. The forecasts were so dire that for the FIRST time in the almost 20 years working for the State of Pennsylvania, they announced that state offices would be CLOSED!! Usually they make us wait till the wee hours of the morning to let us know. Here is the announcement from the state website: Full-Day Closings of State Office Buildings On Wednesday, February 10, 2010, non-essential employees under the Governor's jurisdiction are authorized for a full-day closing for the following locations: Capitol Complex Pittsburgh Office Bldgs Harrisburg area Reading State Office Bldg Philadelphia Office Bldgs The State of Pa website also announced this: Due to inclement weather, the Pennsylvania Stimulus Oversight Commission meeting scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 11, has been cancelled. I think they MIGHT have us CLOSED tomorrow Feb 11th if this is any indication. I have an appeal downtown at 11am so I do think we will be closed. 2 Days in a row!! That would be unprecedented!!
The first video was taken at 8:06am this morning and you can see that there was not that much snow on the ground and it was mostly slush. The 2nd video shows the start of the blizzard portion of the storm!!