Thursday, December 5, 2019

Thoughts on Impeachment

Republicans are fond of positing that the attempt to impeach Donald Trump reverses a legitimate election. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Certainly, the legitimacy of the 2016 election is in question. That indeed is part of this Constitutionally-mandated inquiry. The legitimacy comes into question when you consider the aiding and abetting of foreign interference and the rampant voter suppression that was done by Trump and his cult political party. And while the fact that Trump badly lost the Electoral College vote is not part of the impeachment consideration, it certainly raises questions about our electoral process in general.
The Republicans’ point about overturning an election is equally as specious. Does anyone of either party think that the Democrats are doing this in order to install Christian evangelist and homophobe Mike Pence in the Oval Office? Impeachment is just as much a part of the U.S. Constitution as the Electoral College. The current impeachment is a textbook case of what the Founders feared and how to remedy the situation. By not impeaching, the House of Representatives would be shirking their oaths of office.
I have no issue if Republicans want to try to defend Trump on his record or on facts. But obfuscating the process with falsehoods is immoral and Anti-American.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Mount Laurel Town Council - Dec 2, 2019 - Unedited voice to text rough transcropt

Kurt Focher:        I'm calling the meeting to order. Please stand for the pledge of allegiance and a traditional moment of silence.

All:                I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Kurt Focher:        Thank you.

Kurt Focher:        Roll call.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Present.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Present.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Here.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Present.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Present.

Kurt Focher:        Public announcements?

Meredith Tomczy:    In complince with the Public Meeting Act in the State of New Jersey, adequate notice of this meeting at the town's council is provided in the following manner on January 13, 2019. Advancement notice of this meeting was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Center and copies were sent to the Burlington County times, the Mt Laurel Sun and the Courier-Post.

Kurt Focher:        Thanks Meredith. May I... Approval of the bill list. May I have a motion to approve the bill list?

Irwin Edelman:      I'll move to approve the bill list.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a second?

Stephen Steglik:    I'll second.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Councilman Edelson. Second by Councilman Steglik. May I have a roll call please.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved. May I have a motion to for the approval of the minutes?

Kareem Pritchet:    I'll make a motion to approve the minutes.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a second?

Stephen Steglik:    I'll second.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Councilman Pritchett. Second by Councilman Steglik. May I have a roll call please?

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik.

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Kurt Focher:        Resolution 19 R dash 2 2 1.

Meredith Tomczy:    Resolution authorized for Mount Laurel township to sell surplus on govdeals.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a motion?

Linda Bobl:         I make a motion to approve.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a second?

Irwin Edelman:      I'll second.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Deputy Mayor Bobo second by Councilman Edelson. May I have a roll call, please.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Major Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Kurt Focher:        Resolution 19 R dash 2 2 2.

Meredith Tomczy:    Resolution authorizing the refund or cancellation of property taxes block 1 3 0 2 point 0 3 lot 8.

Linda Bobl:         Make a motion to approve.

Kurt Focher:        And second?

Kareem Pritchet:    Motion by Deputy Mayor Bobo, second by Councilman Pritchett. May I have a roll call, please.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Kurt Focher:        Resolution 19 R dash 2 2 3.

Meredith Tomczy:    Releasing performance bond for landscaping improvements upon the posting of a maintenance bond for Rancocas Pointe, section M F dash 1.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a motion?

Kareem Pritchet:    I'll make a motion to approve.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a second? I'm making a move to have a second.

Linda Bobl:         I'll second.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Councilman Pritchett, second by Deputy Mayor Bobo. May I have a roll call, please?

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Kurt Focher:        Resolution 19 R dash 2 2 4.

Meredith Tomczy:    Releasing performance bond for landscaping improvements upon the posting of the maintenance bond for Rancocas Pointe section S F dash 1.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a motion?

Irwin Edelman:      I'll move to approve 19 R 2 24.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a second?

Linda Bobl:         I'll second.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Councilman Edelson, second by Deputy Mayor Bobo. May I have a roll call, please?

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Kurt Focher:        Resolution 19 R dash 2 2 5.

Meredith Tomczy:    Releasing performance bond for landscaping improvements upon the posting of a maintenance bond for Rancocas Pointe, section S F dash 2.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a motion for 19 R 2 2 5?

Irwin Edelman:      Ill move to approve 19 R 2 2 5.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a second?

Kareem Pritchet:    I'll second.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Councilman Edelson, second by Councilman Pritchett. May I have a roll call, please?

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Irwin Edelman:      Meredith, question.

Meredith Tomczy:    Sure.

Irwin Edelman:      Anymore bonds for Racocas Pointe?

Meredith Tomczy:    I don't believe so, this is it.

Irwin Edelman:      Yeah. Very good.

Kurt Focher:        Resolution 19 R dash 2 2 6.

Meredith Tomczy:    Resolution approving the person to person transfer of consumption license 0 3 2 4 dash 3 3 8 dash 0 2 1 dash 0 0 4. This is Don Pablo's that claimed bankruptcy. It's reverting back to East Gate. It was in their lease that it went to the owner of the property if they defaulted.

Irwin Edelman:      Can the owner of the property put it out to bid?

Meredith Tomczy:    They can use it to get a new tenant, but you can't lease a license. So, if they get a new tenant it will probably be in lease. Same thing if McDonald's sell it to their new tenant.

Irwin Edelman:      Right, Don Pablo's. [inaudible 00:05:17].

Kurt Focher:        May I have a resolution for 19 R 2 2 6?

Kareem Pritchet:    I'll make a motion to approve.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a second?

Stephen Steglik:    I'll second.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Councilman Pritchett, second by Councilman Steglik. May I have a roll call, please?

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Kurt Focher:        Resolution 19 R 2 2 7.

Meredith Tomczy:    Award 2019 the local bird program phase launch. This was part of the capital this year. These are roads that will be done, but they will not start until next year after winter. The schedule would be post on the township's website once American Asphalt give it to us.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a resolution for 19... I'm sorry, may I have a motion for 19 R 2 2 7?

Linda Bobl:         Ill make a motion to approve.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a second?

Stephen Steglik:    I'll second.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Deputy Mayor Bobo, second by Councilman Steglik. May I have a roll call, please?

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Kurt Focher:        Resolution 19 R dash 2 2 8.

Meredith Tomczy:    Resolution authorizing public sale of hotel motel consumption license. This was discussed at the last council meeting. It's set with a minimum bid price at 275,000 decided by council at the last meeting.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a motion for 19 R 2 2 8?

Irwin Edelman:      I'll move to approve 19 R 2 2 8.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a second?

Linda Bobl:         I'll second.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Councilman Edelson and second by Deputy Mayor Bobo. May I have a roll call, please?

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Kurt Focher:        All right, so we're through the resolutions. These ordinances are going to be a second reading. Public hearing and second reading, excuse me. Resolution to 219 dash 34.

Meredith Tomczy:    An ordinance amending chapter 74 of the code of the township of Mount Laurel entitled fees to adjust the fees for the summer camp program.

Kurt Focher:        I am going to open this to the public comment. Please, if you have something to say about this ordinance, and this ordinance only, feel free to come to the microphone.

Brian Sharp:        Brian Sharp, 19 Biddle Way. [inaudible 00:07:49], I never get the chance to come up and actually look at this with you. But, my question is still stands, is do we truly need to go this high in order to make the payroll for the summer?

Meredith Tomczy:    Sure. So... yes, and like I said, feel free to stop in anytime to see it. You'll see, I had it going up on a scale. Obviously we have different types of counselors. We have were considered senior counselors, which are actual teachers from the school district, and then we have college counselors, and then we also have high school counselors. So, unfortunately once the minimum wage does go to 15, I'm not going to be able to get certified teachers for 15. So with... I've done a scale where the high school students would make 15, the college students would make a little bit more, and the teachers would make a little bit more too. I've... There's a few moving factors which make it a little bit hard.

Meredith Tomczy:    One, we're one of the few camps that actually take part-time campers. The part-time kids actually we lose money on because they take all of the services such as busing to the field trips, the field trip costs. We normally, if we have an activity coming in, we plan it for the morning so they can experience it before they get picked up half day. But, they're only giving us half of that price and that's a variable that moves.

Meredith Tomczy:    So I took an average over the last five years of how many part time kids we've had verse how many full time kids we've had. I did for a 1 to 2 percent increase on events because, for instance, the trampoline park is not going to stay 10 dollars.

Brian Sharp:        [crosstalk 00:09:29] inflation.

Meredith Tomczy:    Yes. So, I built all of that in with the moving and also there's another moving variable. Minimum wage isn't just 15 dollars, it's 15 dollars plus cost of living, which we don't know. I don't want to have to change fees yearly so I've tried to look at what the average of that's been over the last 5 years.

Brian Sharp:        Well, no, the 15 actually doesn't go into effect yet. So where are we going to go with 15? Or we going-

Meredith Tomczy:    Right, so, now we're going to go up on a scale.

Brian Sharp:        Okay.

Meredith Tomczy:    So, I did it all the way until-

Brian Sharp:        Now, if there's excess money in this fund, what happens?

Meredith Tomczy:    It stays into a trust fund, and it's just reused into camp. Because for instance, some years we've lost money because of those part-time kids and some years we haven't. Camp is not paid by tax payer money, it strictly goes into a fund, which is money that is received from the people that are paying for camp. It stays in there. And it's just used for the next year either for supplies, field trips, t-shirts, water bottles, all the stuff that's associated with camp.

Brian Sharp:        And we're still... I think it's still cheaper than a lot of other camps.

Meredith Tomczy:    It is-

Brian Sharp:        But do we run the risk of having a much lower...

Meredith Tomczy:    So, I have been in contact with the YMCA and the school district. So, if you pay prior to April, our fees going to be 1900. The school district told me they're going to be raising fees to 2100. So, we will still be the cheapest camp in... Normally it's us, the school which does Larchmont, and then the YMCA, which is also ran out of the one other schools. We will still be the cheapest camp of the three.

Brian Sharp:        Thank you, Meredith.

Meredith Tomczy:    No problem.

Linda Bobl:         And Brian, I saw one of your emails.

Brian Sharp:        Yes.

Linda Bobl:         Copy of council on it. And one other factor you are taking into consideration is the taxes you have to pay. So, it's not just 15 dollars now, [crosstalk 00:11:16] payroll tax on top of that and all of the other associated state taxes.

Brian Sharp:        No, I understand. But I was under the impression this was strictly because of the 15 dollar an hour increase. Because that's what the Merit said. And I think there's a lot of other factors, the 15 is not the only reason why we have [crosstalk 00:11:32].

Linda Bobl:         I think that is.

Brian Sharp:        We're paying the teachers more money, which I think is a good thing.

Linda Bobl:         Well, we have to pay them. You have to graduate [crosstalk 00:11:40] because now a high schooler is now elevated to the same rate of pay as one of the professional teachers. So, now you have to increase their pay. Right?

Brian Sharp:        Well, I think it's good that they're all making a decent living for taking care of the kids over the summer. I think that's a good-

Stephen Steglik:    But the parents are now paying double.

Brian Sharp:        But the people that are doing it are getting paid a fair living wage. And sorry, I just think people getting paid a fair living wage is the appropriate thing to do. Thanks.

Kurt Focher:        Anybody else would like to come up and comment about this ordinance and this ordinance only? Seeing nobody, I will now close it and ask for a motion.

Stephen Steglik:    I'll make a motion.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Councilman Steglik. May I have a second?

Kareem Pritchet:    I'll second.

Kurt Focher:        Second by Councilman Pritchett. May I have a roll call, please?

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Kurt Focher:        2019 dash 35.

Meredith Tomczy:    Amending the route 38, Ark Road, Fostertown Road redevelopment plan standards.

Kurt Focher:        I'm going to open up this resolution, I'm sorry, this ordinance for a second reading to the public. If anybody has a question about this ordinance, and this ordinance alone, please come to the microphone.

Kurt Focher:        Seeing nobody, I will ask for a 2019 dash 35, I'll ask for a motion?

Irwin Edelman:      Mr Mayor, I move to approve to 2019 dash 35.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a second?

Linda Bobl:         I'll second.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Councilman Edelson, second by Deputy Mayor Bobo. May have a roll call, please?

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Kurt Focher:        Ordinance for second reading 2019 dash 36.

Meredith Tomczy:    An ordinance amending and supplementing chapter 121 or the code of the township of Mount Laurel entitled rental property.

Kurt Focher:        I will now open up this ordinance for second reading. If anybody has a comment about this ordinance and... I'm sorry, this ordinance and this ordinance alone, please come to the microphone.

Brian Sharp:        Well, unfortunately, I wasn't here last month when this was first read. So, I guess I just have some questions. It appears what we're trying to do is make sure hotels aren't allowing people to rent longterm?

Meredith Tomczy:    Yeah. So, some of the hotels are not set up for long term stays. They don't have kitchens. So, we have always had an ordinance on the book that says that you can't stay longer than 15 days. Very good. 15. And she's back there. One of the issues we ran into was the hotels were not not complying with the ordinance. So, this just implementing if they... Where they can be-

Brian Sharp:        I travel a lot for business. I know I've stayed at some of the Marriott's for 30, 60 days at a shop.

Meredith Tomczy:    Are they long term stays?

Brian Sharp:        They are the extended. So it's [Crosstalk 00:15:03] extended stay.

Meredith Tomczy:    Yep, because they have the kitchen and they're set up for that. This is more of the motels that we've been having problems where people are going in, staying for a few days and then decide that they don't want to pay anymore.

Brian Sharp:        No. Some of the hotels get services from the state to allow lower income people to stay.

Meredith Tomczy:    Right. And they have to be set up in a long term stay that allows for that.

Brian Sharp:        Okay, so there are restrictions already? So, this rule isn't changing anything? It's just re...

Meredith Tomczy:    Yeah.

Brian Sharp:        Okay.

Meredith Tomczy:    Just issuing the fine.

Brian Sharp:        Thank you.

Kurt Focher:        Anybody else has a question about ordinance 2019 dash 36, feel free to come to the microphone. Seeing nobody, I will now ask for a motion for 2019 dash 36.

Irwin Edelman:      Move to approve 2019 dash 36.

Kurt Focher:        May I have a second?

Linda Bobl:         I second.

Kurt Focher:        Motion by Councilman Edelson, second by Deputy Mayor Bobo. May I have a roll call, please.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Aye.

Meredith Tomczy:    Mayor Folcher?

Kurt Focher:        Aye. So moved.

Kurt Focher:        I'll now open the microphone up for full participation. If somebody speaks to an issue that you have a concern or a question about, please don't repeat what has already been said, just add on to what's already been mentioned. So, at this time if anybody would like to come to the microphone, feel free to do so.

Stephen Steglik:    I knew you wouldn't disappoint, Brian.

Brian Sharp:        I was waiting, I waited to see if somebody else wanted to come up and speak. All right so my questions are along the lines of I appreciate the work we're doing on Union Mill Road. But is there any way... Is there like a calendar or something so we know when the construction trucks are going to be there so we can avoid Union Mill those days? Because it seems to be hit or miss.

Meredith Tomczy:    Sure. So, it should be on the website. It's due to be done.. It's supposed to be done by the 6th of December. But, obviously, weather today heard off, we lost a day. There's two factors going on out there. The metal plates are actually not the township or have anything to do with being Union Mill Road. There's a developer that's putting two homes up. The plate covers are covering him connecting into the sewer and the water, the piping. So, we're told he's supposed to be done and the metal plates are supposed to be removed by Wednesday. Obviously, weather wise. And then the paving of Union Mill Road should be done by the sixth, depending on weather.

Brian Sharp:        On the weather, okay. Thank you.

Kurt Focher:        Anybody else would like to come to the microphone, please do. Seeing nobody, I will close the pulpit for participation and open up comments by council. Meredith?

Meredith Tomczy:    No comments at this time.

Kurt Focher:        Councilor?

Councelor:          Nothing.

Kurt Focher:        Councilman Steglik?

Stephen Steglik:    Drive safe.

Kurt Focher:        Councilman Pritchett?

Kareem Pritchet:    No more comments this evening.

Kurt Focher:        Councilman Edelson?

Irwin Edelman:      That's Friday night, black Friday, we had a wonderful event when Rancocas Woods had their tree lighting and open house and whatnot there. We said that was two years in the making. That's the new ownership there. Actually it's been going on for a lot of years. Spencer's, the houses along that, did the same thing multiple times for every year. [inaudible 00:18:34], at least 15, 20 years. And with that said, Meredith, something to think about. Because the Jewish boy I went to the Christmas parade in Collingswood on Saturday morning. I think we should think about a Christmas parade. That would be very nice. Yeah.

Meredith Tomczy:    Okay.

Irwin Edelman:      Whether it's on Creek road, whether we do it in our park around the Lake, because there's plenty of parking or something. Just to watch the bands come out, mummers, the kids. I think Mount Laurel deserves a Christmas parade.

Meredith Tomczy:    I will pass it on to [inaudible 00:19:09] and he will bring it up at the [crosstalk 00:19:11]. The Rancocas Business Association.

Irwin Edelman:      Yeah, and back in the day when Spencer's, the houses ran it, they had a horse and buggy running up and down. They had the [inaudible 00:19:23] and stuff.

Meredith Tomczy:    I like it.

Irwin Edelman:      I'd love the [inaudible 00:19:27] to be there again with us for that. So, let's think about that and maybe put some plans together.

Meredith Tomczy:    Okay.

Irwin Edelman:      Thank you. And be safe getting home tonight.

Kurt Focher:        Deputy Mayor Bobo?

Linda Bobl:         We do have Santa coming to town.

Kurt Focher:        [inaudible 00:19:42].

Linda Bobl:         Next week, the twelfth?

Kareem Pritchet:    The twelfth.

Linda Bobl:         Four o'clock, is it? Four o'clock?

Meredith Tomczy:    Five.

Linda Bobl:         Five o'clock.

Meredith Tomczy:    We pushed it back a little bit so the kids could actually get home from school and see Santa.

Linda Bobl:         Okay. So, it's always a favorite over at the community center. Make sure you bring your little ones. There's, aside from Santa's coming to town, there's all kinds of crafts and hot chocolate and fun things. Games.

Meredith Tomczy:    Face painting.

Linda Bobl:         And face painting for the kids. That's it.

Kurt Focher:        So, today's meeting we went a little bit quick. The reason for that is, council gets the agenda and we have... You know what's going on. So, we're trying to move this thing forward a little bit for right now because the weather is pretty bad out there right now. So, people, as you go heading home today, we want to make this a meeting where our town business got done, voices were heard, but at the same time people can get home nice and safe. So, please folks, drive home safe and be careful because the weather is pretty bad.

Kurt Focher:        So, with that I will make a motion to adjourn. Or I'll ask for a motion to adjourn?

Kareem Pritchet:    You can make it.

Kurt Focher:        I'll make a motion to adjourn. I'll do that too.

Irwin Edelman:      Somebody second it.

Kareem Pritchet:    I'll second.

Meredith Tomczy:    All in favor?

Kurt Focher:        All in favor?

All:                Aye.

Kurt Focher:        Please go home safe folks.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

On Impeachment

The right-wing media is fond of characterizing the current impeachment proceedings as an attempt to reverse a legitimate election. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Impeachment of the president was included in the Constitution for situations exactly like those we are facing today. True, while our president lacks moral decency, that is not grounds for impeachment. What is a legitimate reason is his disdain for the rule of law as outlined by our Founding Fathers. Our founders put in bulwarks against the type of tyranny that is currently being practiced in the White House. The put in the Emoluments Clause as a firewall against the type of pay-for-play actions that are being exhibited ty the incumbent every day.

Where were these Republicans who claim we are reversing an election when they voted to impeach Bill Clinton for a far-lesser crime? It should be noted that Clinton was elected exactly twice as many times as the current president and without foreign interference.

These same Republicans showed a modicum of decency 45 years ago when they went to the White House to urge Richard Nixon to resign as that president faced certain impeachment – again for crimes that were more serious than Clintons, but pale in comparison to those of the current incumbent.

It should be obvious that the current proceedings are not being held to reverse an election, if they are successful since Mike Pence is just as radical – if not more so – than the incumbent. Instead, people need to understand that while impeachment is a political process, “political” is not a derogatory term. What Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, and Schumer are doing is defending the Constitution – as they should.

Monday, February 18, 2019

What we need in 2020

Ever since that horrible night on November 8, 2016, we have been yearning for the day when the misanthrope who “won” the election would be out of office. Now that we’re halfway through the Trump administration, the battle to challenge him is heating up.

We can’t just settle on someone better than Trump. After all, any person who can construct a grammatically correct sentence would be better. Whoever replaces him has the dual challenge of running the country and repairing the damage that was caused by his kakistocracy.

Yet, while it’s necessary to make Trump a one-term president, we also need to fix the root cause of the dismal 2016 results. This means returning the U.S. Senate to Democratic control, reforming voting laws to make them more inclusive, and drowning out Trump TV (Fox News) with a positive progressive message aimed at all demographics.

It means supporting Senator Booker’s re-election (assuming he’s not on the national ticket) even if you disagree with certain aspects of his voting record, as I do. Voting for a third-party contender is a vote for a Republican, and voting for a Republican is tacit approval of Trump’s draconian agenda.

It means supporting good Democrats running for state and local office because they are the farm team for future high office holders, even if your favorite candidate fails in the primaries.

It means supporting progressive out-of-state candidates for the House and Senate because whether we like it or not, money talks.

It means getting involved in the political process, whether through the party or through advocacy groups.

It means setting a better example than the GOP does by purging the Democratic Party of those who engage in sexual misconduct and racist actions, even if these occurred years ago.


What Ousting Trump will require a presidential candidate who not only appeals to a broad base and who not only has impeccable unblemished credentials, but also who can inspire and motivate. Someone like JFK or Barack Obama. We shouldn’t settle for anything less.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A Bridge Too Far


I'm an ardent proponent of the separation of church and state. But even further than that, I support the premise that a person's religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) are a personal matter and should not be tainted by pressure from the government or from proselytizers. If you come knocking at my door carrying a Bible and literature, you'll be promptly and courteously turned away. But this works both ways. If you're a non-believer, I respect your position. But don't try to convince people of faith to abandon their beliefs.

There was a full-page ad in the New York Times today from an outfit called the Freedom From Religion Foundation (below). It urges Catholics to leave their church because of the pedophile scandal. I find that ad distasteful at best.

Yes, the Church has a serious problem and it's not being adequately addressed by their bureaucracy. And I support the government's prosecution of religious leaders who break secular law.

But the problem infecting the Catholic church will not be resolved by urging people to leave it. It will be resolved by a combination of internal pressure and prosecution of offenders.

I'm a card-carrying member of Delaware Valley Americans United for Separation of Church and State. AU is supportive of religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) but does not urge people to adopt either option. And while I support FFRF's aim to keep government and church separate, proselytizing AGAINST religion goes beyond the pale. I can't support FFRF on this.