Chester County Democratic Committee Secretary, David Rhoads; Executive Committee Member, Jim Salvas; Vice Chair, Lani Frank; Chair, Bran J. McGinnis; and Treasurer, Lisa Longo pose for a photo at their new head-quarters. Submitted photo

Daily Local News
Staff Report. Posted: 08/06/17   F
OR
IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Settlement On
37 S. High Street In Heart Of West Chester Borough Complete

West Chester, PA (August 8, 2017) – After years of renting, Chester County Dems are finally homeowners. And the timing could not be more ideal as Chester County is home to one of the most active and rapidly growing Democratic organizations in Pennsylvania.

Philanthropist and 37 S. High Street owner Vivian Lasko turned over the keys to the historical building, built in 1893, at settlement on July 27. For the last 16 years, Chester County Democratic Committee (CCDC) ran its headquarters out of the building with approximately 800 SF of first floor office space.

Lasko, widow to long-time West Chester businessman Oscar Lasko who died at age 96 earlier this year, recently put the building on the market. Jim Salvas, the Democratic committee person in Lasko’s precinct, was liaison between her and the CCDC. Salvas noted, “this purchase would not have been possible without Vivian’s generosity, allowing us a right of first offer and help with financing.”

“While the party has always maintained a year-round office in West Chester,” continued CCDC Chairman Brian McGinnis, “we have never owned our headquarters. After searching the county for new space, we were pleased to be able to remain in the midst of West Chester’s vibrant downtown and county seat.”

Chesco Dems, riding high on changing demographics and an increase in voter turnout, decided to put down roots this year, in anticipation of the November 2017 local elections and next year’s national and statewide races.

“This purchase is the result of the hard work and dedication of the members of the Chester County Democratic Committee,” added McGinnis. “I am very humbled to be their Chairman during these exciting times in county politics. We are moving forward with a ton of momentum!”

Under McGinnis and the Executive Board of CCDC’s leadership, ballots in county and local elections are brimming with Democratic candidates, many for the very first time.

“Don’t underestimate the importance of local elections such as school board directors (ensuring that our school districts are solvent and promoting public education) and township supervisors (keeping our townships and boroughs safe places to live and raise a family),” wrote McGinnis earlier this month to his membership. “Local elections matter. Our county-wide candidates will restore integrity, trust, and transparency to government, and our judicial candidates will represent the interests of people over the powerful.”

Election Day 2017 is Tuesday, November 7. There is good reason for optimism in the suburbs.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote after May’s primary, “In Chester County, where Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton outperformed Republican Trump in November by more than 25,000 votes despite a GOP registration advantage, 18 percent of Democrats came out to vote on Tuesday, compared with just 10 percent four years ago.”

For information about Chester County Democratic Committee, visit their website at chescodems.com and follow them on Facebook.

from our Special Correspondent in West Chester

Dear Senator Toomey:

Please show the courage of moral conviction. It not only is wrong, it is irresponsible to rush through a health care bill that has not been properly scrutinized, when you yourself do not know the long-term implications of the legislation.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts 22 million Americans will lose insurance if the Republican Bill goes through. Millions will lose Medicaid – and they aren’t the mythical “welfare queens,” they are hard-working Americans, blue collar workers, teachers, bus drivers, restaurant workers, who are old, retired and whose savings run out.

And major urban hospitals will run budget deficits treating people at ERs who have no insurance.

All of these consequences are not “conservative,” they are not “Christian” and they are not smart.

As the New York Times has reported: “Obamacare is Not Collapsing, Imploding or Exploding.”

Please do the right thing. The AFA may need fixing. You should work cooperatively, across the aisle, to reach a solution.

See her video announcement “Comitta Fighting To Keep Pipelines Safe” at YouTube. Text there:

Published on Jun 19, 2017

The creation of a Pipeline Communication and Safety Board is needed, as our state government struggles to keep residents up to date on pipeline construction, operation and maintenance. The Pipeline Communication and Safety Board will ensure timely and effective dissemination of relevant information to help all citizens, and make our government agencies more efficient.

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, July 3, 2017

The chart below is from “Americans Say Civility Has Worsened Under Trump; Trust In Institutions Down” by Jessica Taylor, NPR.org, July 3, 2017.

It would be interesting to have figures for Chester County. It would be a good bet, though, that residents here overall are fairly satisfied with their county and municipal governments, with law enforcement and the courts system.

In this swing county, which had the good taste to give Trump under 43% of its vote (national average: 46%), people remain engaged, as we’ve seen from the profusion of rallies and the number of candidates running for office this year and already lining up for 2018. We go to public meetings (witness the outpouring regarding the proposed pipeline cutting through the County), talk with our elected representatives, and speak at Borough Council and supervisor meetings (the PA Sunshine Act is taken seriously here).

Voter turnout was relatively good in the May primary, and one can hope for a larger than usual vote this coming November. A lot of Americans, last November, found out what happens when they don’t vote!

Civility remains the norm, even in public rallies, and it is heartening to see a targeted elected official emerge on occasion for a (civil) chat with demonstrators.

About the fairness of elections, Chester County is also fortunate…

read more at Politics: A View from West Chester

Posted by: wcdem2 | July 5, 2017

Another win for local environmental rights

Governor Wolf has now vetoed a bill that would have allowed the state to override local rights in one more area: HB 1071 would have put into PA law that “no political subdivision may impose a ban, fee, surcharge or tax on a recyclable plastic bag supplied by a retail establishment to a purchaser of consumer goods at the point of sale.” .

Anyone who believes in “small government” and local rights should logically believe that a municipality should be allowed to reduce use of disposable plastic bags, which almost always go into the trash or environment. In fact, with the failure of this bill, it is allowed.

Among Chester County’s 9 state representatives, Carolyn Comitta (D-156) voted against the bill, as did Harry Lewis (R-74) and Duane Milne (R-167), while Tim Hennessy (R-26) did not vote. The other 5, all R’s, voted for the bill

PA Rep. Greg Vitale (D-166) explains why…

Governor Wolf Should Veto Plastic Bag Bill

Rep. Greg Vitali, June 15, 2017

One-hundred-billion plastic bags pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year — almost one bag per person each day, according to Earth Policy Institute. But only about 1 percent of these bags are recycled, leaving the rest to litter our streets, pollute our waterways and stress our landfills.

Yet, despite opposition from numerous municipalities, municipal associations and environmental groups, the Pennsylvania House and Senate recently passed legislation that would prevent local governments from enacting laws to address their plastic bag problems. House Bill 1071 now sits on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk awaiting either his signature or veto.

This bill would prohibit Pennsylvania cities, counties, townships and boroughs from imposing a ban, fee, tax or surcharge on single-use plastic bags at retail stores.

This legislation is being driven by Novolex, the world’s largest manufacturer of single-use plastic bags. Novolex owns the Helix Poly plant in Milesburg, Pa. – an area that is represented by one of the prime sponsors of the bill. Novolex has been active in promoting this type of legislation in other states.

Some 165 municipalities across the United States have adopted some form of single-use plastic bag legislation, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York City, according to the Plastic Ban Bag Report, a national advocacy group.

The evidence shows that this legislation has been effective. Following implementation of a citywide 5-cent-per-bag fee in 2010, the presence of bags in Washington, D.C., decreased by about 67 percent….

read more at Rep. Greg Vitali

Posted by: wcdem2 | July 3, 2017

How a Small Town Is Standing Up to Fracking

By Justin Nobel, Rolling Stone, June 1, 2017 [n.b. relevant to West Chester because of our Home Rule Community status, our environmental Community Bill of Rights passed by voters in 2015, and ongoing initiatives to defend our environment and health.]

Grant Township, Pennsylvania, population 741, has became the front line of a radical new environmental movement – and they’re not backing down

On October 24th, 2012, several agents from Pennsylvania General Energy, an oil-and-gas exploration company, met privately with local officials from the rural western Pennsylvania community of Grant Township. Fracking was booming in Pennsylvania, and PGE had been trucking tens of thousands of gallons of fracking wastewater to faraway injection wells in Ohio. Developing an injection well somewhere in Pennsylvania could save the company around $2 million a year, and Grant Township, a swath of woods and hayfields slightly larger than Manhattan and populated by a mere 741 people, seemed like an especially good spot.

Most of the meeting’s attendees – which included the three Grant Township supervisors, a rep from the local state senator’s office and an official from the county’s office of planning and development – will not speak about the event. But about 10 months later, one of the supervisors passed along a notice to a retired elementary-school teacher named Judy Wanchisn. In lettering so small “you need a magnifying glass to read,” says Wanchisn, the notice declared that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “plans to issue an Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit to PGE  . . .  to construct and operate one class II-D brine disposal injection well.” Wanchisn had no idea what that meant, but she could tell it was bad….

read more at Rolling Stone

Grant Township, Pennsylvania, population 741, has became the front line of a radical new environmental movement – and they’re not backing down

On October 24th, 2012, several agents from Pennsylvania General Energy, an oil-and-gas exploration company, met privately with local officials from the rural western Pennsylvania community of Grant Township. Fracking was booming in Pennsylvania, and PGE had been trucking tens of thousands of gallons of fracking wastewater to faraway injection wells in Ohio. Developing an injection well somewhere in Pennsylvania could save the company around $2 million a year, and Grant Township, a swath of woods and hayfields slightly larger than Manhattan and populated by a mere 741 people, seemed like an especially good spot.

Most of the meeting’s attendees – which included the three Grant Township supervisors, a rep from the local state senator’s office and an official from the county’s office of planning and development – will not speak about the event. But about 10 months later, one of the supervisors passed along a notice to a retired elementary-school teacher named Judy Wanchisn. In lettering so small “you need a magnifying glass to read,” says Wanchisn, the notice declared that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “plans to issue an Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit to PGE  . . .  to construct and operate one class II-D brine disposal injection well.” Wanchisn had no idea what that meant, but she could tell it was bad….

read more at Rolling Stone

Posted by: wcdem2 | June 23, 2017

On Congress and division

from our special correspondent

The shooting in northern Virginia is horrifying. But not because the targets were lawmakers, but because they were human beings.

It was only one of three mass shootings that day in the United States – and this is the shocking norm.

Now is not the time to point fingers or claim that partisan politics are to blame. Millions of angry or disappointed Americans cannot understand the gross governmental dysfunction, or why their elected representatives are not laboring to make life better in the United States but rather only serve special interests.

Congress must drop the partisan rhetoric, the divisive language. A society that promotes the gulf between haves and have nots, those who are entitled and those who are disenfranchised; those who are white and those who are of color, is a tinderbox.

Will we continue toward a police state or a republic?

Posted by: wcdem2 | June 21, 2017

Disarm Hate Act background / June 23 rally

from Concerned Constituent Action Group, hosts of event “Calling on Costello – West Chester: Prevent Gun Violence”, Friday June 23 at 11:30 AM – 1 PM, 21 W Market St, West Chester

According to Everytown Research, 93 Americans are killed with guns on an average day. Common-sense gun control laws could prevent many of these deaths. Under current laws, domestic abusers, the mentally ill, and suspected terrorists—such as the shooter at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, who killed 49 and wounded 53 members of the LGBTQ community—are all allowed to possess guns. In addition, convicted criminals can buy guns online or at gun shows because unlicensed private sellers aren’t required to perform background checks.

The gun lobby has spent tens of millions of dollars (including more than 30 million on the Trump campaign) to gain power in Washington DC. In February, Trump and the GOP-led Congress overturned an Obama-era rule that prohibited certain mentally ill people from buying guns. The NRA and gun manufacturers are now pushing Congress to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would allow gun owners from states with loose (or no) restrictions on concealed carry permits to bring their concealed weapons into all other states, in effect overriding state laws that require safety courses or live-fire training for permit-seekers.

America is a great nation, but a gun homicide rate that is twenty-five times higher than the average of all other developed countries is not something to be proud of. Research has shown that gun violence most frequently afflicts the most vulnerable groups among us, such as low-income people and minorities (National Crime Victimization Survey). One step in the right direction is the Disarm Hate Act (S. 1324 / H.R. 2841), a bill that would prevent anyone previously convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing a gun. Closing this loophole in current laws will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and prevent more acts of heinous violence”. (5calls.org)

By Bill Rettew Jr., Daily Local News, 6/12/17

WEST CHESTER >> In light of President Donald Trump’s decision to dump the Paris accord, Mayor Jordan Norley is committed to meeting the clean energy goals of the agreement on a local level.

More than 150 mayors in the United States have endorsed the 100 percent clean energy goal, or making all use of energy clean and renewable, as part of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign.

“The people of this world have a fundamental right to the ingredients of life — clean air, clean water and a sustainable future,” Norley said. “There is no better place to take a stand than our own homes, our own communities. With our national politics, the action we can take is local.”

Locally, Norley supports the international Paris agreement which sets a voluntary 2 degrees Celsius guardrail, and meets clean energy goals, in a bid to maintain a stable climate and stable economy.

Norley wants local governments to have control.

“We reject the notion that the state or federal government can override our rights as a community to a sustainable future,” the mayor said….

read more at Daily Local News

by Bill Rettew, Daily Local News, 6/11/17

West Chester Borough Councilman Bernie Flynn, left, accepts an award from Charles J. Walsh of West Chester Off-Campus Housing. Flynn was lauded for his volunteer work beautifying the borough, including removing graffiti and painting curbs. Flynn is a former basketball referee and recently became a first-time councilman in Ward 6.

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