Posted by: wcdem2 | January 14, 2018

Let’s give some credit

Rep. Costello Statement on Reported Remarks by President Trump
January 12, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Ryan Costello (PA-06) today issued the following statement on reported remarks made by President Trump:

For decades, my wife and her family have done missionary work in Haiti. I’ve always been impressed and inspired by the stories they have shared with me about their experience of service, grounded in faith, and the commonalities we all share as human beings. As Americans, we have a proud history of advancing economic, educational, and personal opportunity for millions of people around the globe, and as a country we should recognize the countless contributions and positive impact immigrants have made on our country.

Our country is a nation of immigrants, and we should appreciate and value what each person brings to this country. We should take pride in the fact that most of us have passed down the stories of our families traveling from somewhere else in pursuit of the American Dream. I’m proud to be the descendant of Irish, Italian, and German immigrants who sought a better life in the United States. I believe it is inappropriate, unfortunate, and offensive that the President of the United States reportedly said what he did. I hope he clarifies what was said, apologizes, and focuses on addressing the immigration-related issues for which many of us are seeking bipartisan solutions.

[n.b. If it comes to a censure vote in Congress, and if Rep. Costello bucks his party leaders to back censure, it will help him reduce his “Trump Score,” currently standing at 93.1% votes that Trump approves. Anyone reading this West Chester Dem site knows that votes are the bottom line.]

Posted by: wcdem2 | January 7, 2018

Sinkhole opens up due to pipeline construction

[This article from the WCU student newspaper shows, through local residents’ reactions, some of the types of personal impact from the rushed and rule-breaking Sunoco pipeline construction just north and east of the Borough: yards are destroyed, homeowners could need to evacuate, real estate values may fall… and all that without the feared catastrophic gas release or explosion.]

Kelly Witman, Special to the Quad, December 4, 2017

West Whiteland resident Thomas Allen suffered the consequences of a sinkhole that opened up in his backyard on Nov. 11 during a drilling for Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline.

The incident, referred to as an “inadvertent return,” was caused by Sunoco’s horizontal directional drilling (HDD) that released about 1,500 gallons of drilling mud—a mixture of bentonite clay and water—on Allen’s property, forming an eight-by-eight-foot sinkhole.

“This isn’t just a spill or inadvertent return, I might have to move out of my house,” said Allen. “My house may be condemned.”

Allen explained that after the incident, Sunoco’s cleanup crew came for one day to contain the spill but did not perform a complete cleanup. Sunoco fenced in the backyard and placed a piece of wood over the hole. “There’s still mud all over my yard. My backyard is unusable and I can’t even get to my shed,” said Allen.

Allen expressed dissatisfaction with the way Sunoco and the Department of Environmental Protection have been handling the situation.

“I haven’t heard from the DEP at all,” said Allen. “All I’ve got from the DEP was a Notice of Violation saying Sunoco knew about this since August and has been lying about it.”…

read more at the Quad

Posted by: wcdem2 | January 6, 2018

Women’s March in Phila – bus pickup

Women’s March is Jan. 20th: anniversary march and rally, a day of activism, enlightenment, and progress!

Bus will leave from West Goshen, Park-N-RIDE Lot at Route 202 and Paoli Pike at 9 AM, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018.

Cost $35/Ticket. Sponsored by West Goshen Democrats.

10:30am — gather at Aviator Park/Logan Square, Philadelphia, Pa.
11am — marching from Logan Square to Eakins Oval
12pm — Rally with speakers and performers kicks off
3PM- Rally ends
Leave Philly at 4 PM and Return to West Goshen by 5 PM.

To reserve a seat on the bus ASAP, checks can be made out to “West Goshen Democrats” and mailed to:

WEST GOSHEN DEMOCRATS
PO BOX 2242
WEST CHESTER, PA. 19380

Please include contact information, i.e., Names, address, phone number and email address.

And what is the state doing to protect the citizens’ rights to fight off environmental contamination? Unfortunately, the PA Department of Environmental Protection has itself sued Grant and Highland municipalities for trying to fend off fracking waste injection through their Home Rule Charters. Our state protecting the polluters: totally unacceptable!

Press release from CELDF, Jan 5, 2018

Court Awards $52,000 to Oil and Gas Company and Calls for Disciplinary Action Against Attorney

MERCERSBURG, PA: Today, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued an order imposing sanctions on two attorneys defending a Community Bill of Rights Ordinance adopted by Grant Township, Pennsylvania. The Township has spent years fighting to stop frack wastewater injection wells from being sited in the community with assistance from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).

Injection wells – which involve the high pressure underground dumping of millions of gallons of frack wastewater, which contains toxins, carcinogens, and other chemicals – cause earthquakes, can contaminate drinking water, and bring other environmental and public health impacts.

Today’s ruling comes as part of a lawsuit in which Pennsylvania General Energy, LLC (PGE) is suing Grant Township to overturn the Township’s ban on frack wastewater injection wells. (Pennsylvania General Energy Company, LLC v. Grant Township)

Not satisfied with suing the community and questioning its authority to protect the people and environment of Grant Township from injection wells, the company decided to punish its lawyers by seeking monetary sanctions against them.

“At a time when Americans more and more are looking to the courts for reason and justice, today we find neither, as corporate forces once again have been able to wield our institutions of government to punish those working to elevate the rights of communities over fossil fuel corporations,” stated CELDF’s Associate Director Mari Margil.

Magistrate Judge Susan Baxter earlier found that the Township’s prohibition on injection wells violated the corporation’s constitutional rights. The case is scheduled for a jury trial in May, at which PGE will seek hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Township, claiming that it suffered harm because the company has been prevented from dumping frack waste in a residential area next to the Township’s sole source of drinking water.

Mari Margil
mmargil@celdf.org
(503) 381-1755

Posted by: wcdem2 | January 4, 2018

Mayor and Borough Council sworn in


West Chester’s new Mayor Dianne Herrin and Borough Council members at their swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 2. We are proud to say that all of these public servants are Democrats and six out of eight are current or former members of the West Chester Democratic Committee. Photo by Jim Salvas.

See also Bill Rettew, “Dianne Herrin sworn in as new mayor,” Daily Local News, 1/3/18

Posted by: wcdem2 | December 26, 2017

Yes, Virginia, there is a US Congress but…

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, December 25, 2017

Dear Virginia and friends,

It has come to our attention that you may be wondering if there is a United States Congress.

“Why,” some of you are asking, “Should we believe in you when you don’t bring us any presents or do anything nice for us any more?”

Some of you are wondering if we really exist when children just like you go hungry at night, fall sick and can’t see a doctor, aren’t getting the education they need, and are being shot in malls and movie theaters.

Please, dear Children, be patient. Some day, you will understand how difficult it is to change anything in the business we work in….

read more at Politics: A View from West Chester

Posted by: Webmaster | December 25, 2017

Season’s Greetings!

 

 

From Your
West Chester Borough Democrats

 

 

 

by Bill Rettew, Daily Local News, 12/16/17

“It’s nice to see that your colleagues on council are paying attention to the same things you are and everyone else is,” Galey said. “We’re all watching the news.

“It’s great to have a collaborative team that feels very strongly about these issues.”

All seven borough council members are Democrats.

Councilman Michael Stefano, W4, said that issues on the federal level are more often decided by partisan politics.

“At the local level we don’t make decisions Democrat or Republican,” Stefano said. “We’re thinking more locally with our constituents in mind because we’re not thinking along party lines.”

Galey noted in the letter that Costello has voted against the party in the past with votes favoring the ACA and to preserve CHIP….

read more at Daily Local News

email from PA Schools Boards Association, 12/11/17

URGENT: Tell your Senator to vote NO on Senate Bill 2

After a failed attempt to run voucher legislation under Senate Bill 2 (Sen. DiSanto, R-Dauphin) in October, the Senate Education Committee has scheduled a meeting for tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 12, to push out the bill. This legislation creates a voucher program for taxpayer-dollars to be taken from public school subsidies and given to nonpublic schools. Your calls and emails are needed immediately to stop this flawed scheme from being moved on a fast track.

Under the bill, parents of students in low-achieving schools can receive funds in the form of Education Savings Accounts (ESA) to attend a participating nonpublic school and for other expenses. Low achieving is defined as the lowest performing 15% of elementary and secondary public schools, based on PSSA and Keystone Exam scores. (This does not include charter schools or CTCs.) Those school districts would see their basic and special education subsidies reduced by the amount calculated for each participating student, with that money put into an ESA account for parents to use for “qualified education expenses.”

We need to block passage of Senate Bill 2 and this latest attempt to sell vouchers. If the bill is approved by the Education Committee, it could go to the full Senate for a vote. Please take a moment to contact your senators, even if they are not on the Education Committee. …send a letter to your senator or craft your own message using the talking points below to make the case against vouchers. (click here for links to additional contact information for senators.)

Talking Points:

There is no academic oversight or accountability for voucher schools. There is no public, objective way to evaluate how well private schools meet student needs because there is no oversight of the education provided at private schools. There is no state accountability for academic outcomes, no state assessments for students required, no oversight or regulation of the education provided at private schools. How can parents who are considering enrolling at a school properly assess the value of the school? How can taxpayers who are funding this program measure its success?

The few provisions intended to provide some accountability, both academically and financially, are shallow, inconsistent and vague. The bill does little to prevent fraud and abuse of the system, while serving to take more money from the public school system to subsidize private education.

Vouchers reduce fair access to educational opportunity for all students and are unresponsive to the issue of poverty. They divert scarce resources from public schools that serve all students to pay for private schools for a few. Many of the lowest-performing schools are already struggling financially and cannot afford to receive less resources.

Vouchers do nothing to improve the education of all students. Creating a separate education system does nothing to address inadequacies or issues with the existing public school system. Most high-poverty schools still operate with fewer instructional resources and supports compared to schools in wealthy communities.

We should focus on fixing public schools – where 90% of children go – not taking money away from them for the 10% who go to private schools. Taxpayers cannot afford to fund both private and public schools. Private schools pick and choose students. Public schools do not pick and choose their students. Public schools are open to every child.

Vouchers weaken the rights of students, especially those with with disabilities because private schools are not subject to federal special education law and can deny services to students. Students in public school are entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education. They have protections related to discipline and mandated help for behavioral issues. None of these protections are applicable to private school students. Students with disabilities and their families must waive hard-won legal protections when enrolling in a nonpublic school.

Vouchers will create greater fiscal distress/budgeting problems for school districts. With no deadlines, timelines or notifications required about students who will participate in the program, school districts cannot prepare for the impacts on their budgets. In addition, vouchers divert resources from public education but do not adequately reduce costs. When a student leaves a school district to enroll in a nonpublic school, the district’s fixed, semi-fixed and some variable costs associated with that student do not just disappear (costs such as building operations and maintenance, utilities, technology, food service, staff salaries and benefits, etc.). And requirements to transport students to nonpublic schools within a 10-miles radius will increase transportation costs for affected districts.

Tell your senator that the ESA voucher plan robs public schools to enrich private schools. This amounts to a taxpayer giveaway to private schools. Senate Bill 2 falls short of the mark in too many areas to be worthy of support.

Thank you for your advocacy efforts!

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/oj32WWQWrXEE5sGsNAmdsg

Posted by: wcdem2 | December 7, 2017

Sit-in Dec. 7 at Rep. Costello’s office

A few of the 15 protesters this morning sitting in Rep. Costello’s (R-PA 06) West Chester office demanding that he vote against the GOP tax bill that gives tax cuts to the wealthy while hurting students, the sick, and the elderly. They have pledged not to leave until Costello commits to a No vote. For more on the GOP tax scheme, see Molly Sheehan, “Open Letter to Rep. Pat Meehan on the GOP Tax Plan.”

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