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The Abington Citizens Network
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Economic Development Corporation

          Please attend all meetings on this topic that you can
  If there are mistakes here  please let us know so we can correct anything that needs correcting.  

   The Nutshell  :  
Township wants to use your money and your personnel to set up its own separate ( but not separate) development entity.   We are told it will  be able to control this entity...using your resources - but  you will have no control of it. In fact, an overtly stated goal is to distance the government from the reaction of the public - and another is to avoid protections like bidding  regulations.   The entity will be separate and  no funds will return to you or need your input for their use. It  represents a complete abuse of power.... but as with all bad legislation, if you sit quietly while they install it, your rights will simply be removed, just as your speaking rights recently were.  

   NEXT MEETING :  10-16-19  -INFORMATIONAL MEETING   7 pm at the Township Building .
                          Please see my list of questions for the 10-16-19 meeting

   Here is a page with a concise summary of this issue

   Here is the presentation from which the summary derived  

   The Ordinance ( Ordinance 2169)  itself is listed here   

The Township page that should have the latest links, meeting dates, etc.

The By-Laws published 10-9-19 ( 2 days later was listed as  the cut off for questions from them)

   Here is a page with questions that I submitted  for the Oct 16th meeting  

     Here is a page of just a few of the many corrupt practices  associated with EDCorps
                     Abington still has an outstanding whistleblower suit and Grand Jury report
                              (being withheld by the AG of PA)
                     Does it seem wise to wave such temptation before those
are not yet weaned off  the last corruptions

    Below  are sections entitled  WHAT YOU CAN DO  /// POINT BY POINT /// CHRONOLOGY 
                      you'll find the most recent action at the very end of the page

     Sign up here for the Newsloop and  get periodic updates on this and other important local issues

           Email your Commissioners   here  or :

1)  Tell them NO  you DON'T want your Township becoming a DEVELOPER, using your personnel, resources, monies and grants  while they simultaneously have the powers of  eminent domain, and the power to rezone and have a dismal history of  overseeing  the developers in our Township...  you may recall the Colonade, the Baederwood, Manor Woods, the $600 per sf clubhouse and  and some of the many other debacles. 

2)  Tell them to CANCEL the advertisement that was approved before they y even knew what was to be in it (meant to "fast track"   it so it passed before you knew what was happening ) .

3)  Tell them NO you don't want people outside your Township deciding what your Township should look like based on how wealthy it might make them.  You don't want your properties taken. You want the code enforcement department that has not been doing their jobs to do them - or be " reassigned".   If a property is out of code - cite it and it will get into compliance quickly.  Don't charge residents to  develop it.  Instead gather residents in planning how their town should look and make  the plan known to establihed developers. 

4)  Tell them you want your Township to start putting systems in place that increase your own ability to have a say in our local  development . Where is the group of residents meeting to discuss what would be right for Old York and Susquehanna?  We don't want this done behind closed doors or with a private hand-picked group.  We want an open, inclusive process of ONLY  ABINGTON RESIDENTS deciding how Abington should look.  Then comptetitive bids can be sought. Start with a webpage for each area of concenrn where residents can share ideas about solutions. Include a well advertised webpage where comments about the comprehensive plan can be entered .  And a page where priorities for Budget spending can be posted.  

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What could possibly be wrong with your legislators setting up their own little separate ( but not really separate) corporation that  they can guide and direct, that will be run by people that they appoint, where they can funnel grants and monies ( needed for many things that they have already been ignoring). Seriously?

They have asked to use our staff/personnel for $1 a year. Do you approve? Seriously?  

They want to appoint your Township Manager Executive Director --- doesn't he already have a full-time job? Seriously? 

One Commissioner who voted and also promoted the absurd $345 fee  has a sister-in-law who is a partner at  Obermayer.  We are told if it was his brother, that would be illegal, but a sister-in-law bringing funds to thesame household apparently is not. Seriously? 

It is being set up as a "completely separate entity"  that is not bound by the laws and rules that your  legislators and Township staff would be bound by - like fair bidding procedures, or a requirement for oversight of their budget. They can skip all that nonsense, Seriously? 

Any profits they make won't go back to your budget..... they can be used to begin other projects with other developers ... you know, as long as they meet the "mission". Seriously?  

The very people setting this up are the ones that would approve text and map amendments that this entity proposed. Seriously? 

They can use your money to help anyone this way -- but tell you it isn't them -- it is the "separate"entity ....Seriously?  

This truely falls under the "How dumb do you think we are" umbrella ----  Are you sitting quietly while this happens?

       Our money  redirected : Yup - the Commissioners ( or maybe even just the manager )  can direct your tax monies to the Corporation  (ie: as loans - have we become a bank? ), or help them get grants ( again your tax dollars ) or use your resources, ( they would like our personnel to be available to them for $1 per year as they get up and running ---- and your Manager to be their executive Director - because, I guess, he wasn't busy with anything else anyway. Oh my.  (Not hard to make a profit when you have so many advantages, is it? If I get a 20,000 grant and I make a $15,000 profit ....OK you get the idea )

What is wrong  with this picture besides EVERYTHING?

      Outsiders, developers and any Tom, Dick or Harry they choose.  They can appoint people from OUTSIDE or Township to be on the board -  or developers  or bankers or lawyers ...... . They can operate quite independently  --- and they are bragging about the fact that they can DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM THE REACTION OF THE PUBLIC.  So our manager and others who  consult with them on what project they are doing, will not have to worry about the concerns of the public whose lives they are affecting.  Our voices won't matter - separate entity remember. 

    Residents wishes vs  money .  Text and Map amendments like the Wawa and the Abington Terrace project have found developers pitted against the residents whose lives they are changing .  Now,  the Township can be offered openly this unbounded financial incentive to rule in favor of the corporation. You know... the corporation carrying out their mission .

    In their first intended project, they have already started  the denial of resident voices : at a recent meeting, a neighbor just 2 doors away for Old York and Susquehanna  which is destined to be this Corporation's first project, expressed anger at having been promised a place at the table in the planning of this "Town Center" that affects his property with water  run-off.  But he had not been invited to join in any of the planning (and including in this new wrinkle).  So the residents are already being ignored....  while Manager Manfredi mentioned at the 7-11-19 meeting that a million or more of the 2.8 million  in grants already obtained for that project might go to help a developer...... Can you see how the "profits" will come to those developing? Whose money it really is.   How the resident voices will be ignored as they traditionally have been, but now by people who will profit or can direct and influence the profits. 

 This is a giant leap in the wrong direction for a Board that just was subject to a Grand Jury investigation and verdict.

Other projects are already in mind:  Not ones that residents  decided were most important . There is no  process  set up for residents to help decide what needs are the most important-- while developers find no problem getting private audiences and special services. Residents  are locked out of that part of the process already.  The Noble Station, for instance,  is an area where grant money ( your tax dollars) were already used to create a "vision" of shops around the  train station with apartments on top - and a train platform elevated - at huge expense- to bring the clients to the newly created area . But some residents with flooding needs were ignored while all that  was put on the front burner. There is nothing about that area that should take priority over infrastructure projects that protect homes in existence.   Our Township has been far to willing to give our safety and security away for partnerships with millionaires.  A company from Maryland  came on site to do the work at Noble  - imagine what that cost as they stayed in hotels and commuted so many hours. We have LOTS of design companies in the Phila area - even in Abington.....this was our grant money diverted to friends in other places. At one point we saw a picture with roadside parking up and down the Fairway. Nothing that any Abington resident I talked to was in favor of.  The Patane property in Roslyn has long been in the "development "eye" of the Township - an arts and music center planned there at one time - to the chagrin of the many homes in "hearing distance" of it. The vision of those wanting more and more and more money - that goes into pockets often of wealthy people outside our Township  is not necessarily the vision of the rest of us.  And the rest of us are tired of not having a seat at the table - and the tactics that are being used to do this. 

  Unfair advantage against property owners.  They can put pressure on properties to leave.  Meanwhile, please know that they have been in another room, under the guise of the Vacant Property Board, levying stiff penalties on certain properties ( some pay while some have been granted relief and some special friends' properties didn't even make the list.)   And the Township personnel who are supposed to cite blighted properties - totally delinquent they actually had a hand in creating the blight. Now the Township has found a way to profit from that negligence on their own part.  Negligence that has already cost residents dearly. ( Some had to sell, for instance, while a fully blighted property next to them  goes ignored by the Township - they lost thousands - who would move in next to that? ) And  they Township also can now make it quite uncomfortable for the properties that they would like to buy..... with whatever citations or fees they want - while other properties are ignored. In addition, the quasi governmental organization doesn't have to follow the rules that have been set up to protect  against abuse of public officials using  monies, like following government bidding requirements, for instance.

   The actual  goal of the entity is to create a profit (for the Township- but done as a profit that continues the "mission and the vision of the Township ) ...... i.e. the very legislators and folks whom you trust to decide things in your best interest, not according to how much money there might be for them to direct here or there - might benefit from each project undertaken by this entity and the entities that spring from its good fortune.  As you well imagine - the benefits would be directed to folks that the "controllers'  admire - you know, like ones who support their re-election.  In whose interest will they decide when your interest is compared to monies that they can earn or use or have spread around? Every single decision, from who they put on the board  right down to how they zone the property and who benefits from the profits that are returned to them will be a giant conflict of interest. Is there anyone who also doubts that a generous portion of the spoils will end up in campaign coffers?


 The way it is set up makes corruption too easy.  And in many placesthere have been problems with such Boards.    A grand jury has indicted all of Warren County’s top government officials on charges of misfeasance as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into allegations of embezzlement and money laundering inside the local economic development authority,…...

Proactive ?  Commissioner Spiegelman in the September Vacant property meeting said this is a way to be proactive and not have to rely on developers who bring us bad ideas like the Wawa.  Yes Commissioner - the residents all told you it was a bad idea. But the same people who can now distance themselves from the residents are the very ones who voted the Wawa in, when they had no need to do that at all.  NOW they admit it was a bad idea. So why would we want them to have this ability to operate without our input and reshape our communities in the vision of a handful of developers and special interests that they decide to put in charge with no obligation to be bound by governmental limitations.  It doesn't get much more corrupt, does it?

     Just to make the point of whom they are serving :  The manager recently said he was trying to find $ for a study to fix a long, long, long time flooding problems that have  been ignored ----- but while he couldn't find $ to serve the residents who are being afflicted, he had no trouble finding $20,000 ( and more )  immediately for this.  The actual loan amount to get them started is likely  to be much higher - that is JUST the cost of setting up the incorporation ( at $345 per hour). Parks with dying unattended trees .  Houses flooded. Infrastructure needs of every kind.....  They didn't pave my road, full of holes, til I fell in one and had injuries.......  Now funds for those thisngs will be even harder to come by.

   WHO IS WORKING FOR WHOM?   The less "chit chat" about this the better according to those who don't want you to know.  Take into account  they allowed it to be put on the Consent Agenda " at the next meeting  where there would be ZERO discussion -- and then they voted for it to be advertized for a Hearing - before they had even read it (not yet written, remember?)
    Our Manager who put it on the consent agenda is not elected and cannot hold a meeting with a quorum to decide what hings should and shouldn't have any further discussion  - so the Consent Agenda should be abolished!  It serves no purpose but to cut residents further out of their government.
    The Commissioners also know  that once the hearing is advertised, the residents only option is to have a few minutes at a meeting where they are just learning about it and trying to understand it. At the  end of the Hearing  only 8 Commissioners saying  "aye"  will make it a done deal.  No issue that is controversial with the residents ever should be placed in a hearing BEFORE it is clear that residents WANT it to have a hearing. That includes not just this - but text and map amendments and other things, too. 

 It is likely that very few will even understand what this is all about before it is a done deal. And that is just the way they like it.

  Please attend any meeting you can and use the open speaking time to speak up . Ask your Commissioner to allow you to speak at hte beginning of the meeting so you don't have to sit there waiting .  I will try to keep upcoming meetings posted at the top of the page .   I cannot think of a worse idea that is more against the interests of the residents of this Township. But if you are silent - you will get what silence earns you

Disagree???  If you have some thoughts about why you think this is a good idea - please share 

   We welcome your comments  and if you choose we can  share either anonymously or with your name attached with your  fellow Abington residents.  Or just use them to inform ourselves.    Send  any updated information, comments or questions  to: 


     9-4-19  The Concept was first proposed at the 9-4-19 Public Affairs Committee meeting, in a presentation by the $345 hr attorney & his ( also $345 hr? ) cohort  Obermayer, where it received full Committee  support-- even though the ordinance was not fully written
.  The PRESENTATION  is found 1 hour  and 25 minutes in
at his link   Your commissioners using your funds & resources,  had already engaged the attorneys without any budget approval for same, and while other projects languish, waiting to be funded.  The others unfortunately, will not  make profits - so you can see the inherent conflict of interest already.  Despite the use of Township personnel and resources and the funneling of taxpayer  & grant funds through it to make the  profits, the profits will NOT go back into your budget. They can be directed however their "not quite separate" separate entity wants them to be.   What's wrong with THAT picture?  Everything.  ( a more complete summary can be found here )  Despite the fact that the Ordinance had not even been fully written  and therefore they could not know whether the conditions would be in the interest of their constituents.  This attempt to ram it through  was certainly because they knew  that the ordinance  would be reviled by their constituents.  They hoped it would be a done deal before 90% of residents even learned about it.

       9-12-19     A HEARING IS ADVERTIZED  The Board of Commissioners votes to advertise a hearing on an Ordinance not even fully written.  Residents struggle to get  the topic off the  "consent agenda" where it gets a rubber stamp with no discussion & and try to get further information.  Commissioner Luker reluctantly takes it off the consent agenda but then just tries to pass it quickly - completely defying what residents requested.   Reason to step down  if the President of our Board is working AGAINST the interests of the residents who are just trying to get more information.   Residents protest.   They DO vote to advertise the unfinished ordinance for a hearing --- they should all be ashamed of that  except Gillespie and Zappone who voted no.   Peggy Myers spoke up to ask that an 'informational" meeting was set - that was agreed to.... but at  an unknown date.   Clearly, those who vote to advertize for a hearing could not know that it was favorable to their constiuents' interests . The most important parts were not only not done - but there was an attempt to convince the citizens in a left-handed way that they had to advertise it for a hearing in order to get the rest of it written.  Absolute poppycock. It was nothing more than an attempt to ram it through before we could wake up the community to alert them to what was happening. 

\      10-2-19   LIMITED OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK  Residents speak up at the  Public Affairs segment about about their vote (on 9-12-19)  to advertise an ordinance they had never read - one not yet fully written .  It was asked publicly if Commissioner Winegrad was related to a partner at Obermayer.  Mr Manfredi said that he himself put the issue on the consent agenda. It was noted Spiegelman's emailed newsletter are not telling the truth about the details of the EDCorp.  - where the money comes from, what the conflicts are .  ^The Township decided Baederwood  246 units ,  Wawa and other things we told you not .  It was metntioned that there was corruption in many edcorps  -  In Virginia an entire Board of Supervisors was indicted for corruption within their economiuc development authority --- bothe Phila and Pittsburgh have fought such corruption and there are amny other examples . 

     10-9-19   VERY  PROBLEMATIC By-Laws   The heretofore unwritten By-Laws are now on the site -and residents are given just 2 days , til the 11th, to  submit questions for the October 16th meeting . The elements of the ByLaws are  outrageously problematic. Please see my list of questions for the 10-16-19 meeting that touches on many of the problems.  Directors can be from anywhere in PA.  They don't have to have any love or affiliation with Abington nor do they have any responsibility to the residents of Abington. In fact one of the stated goals in the presentation was to distance the government from the reaction of the public. And another stated goal was to avoid the tiresome protections that residents have under government regulations, such as bidding requirements.  The By-laws themselves can be changed at any time. No regulations whatsoever have been put in place for taking property. The Township is listed as the sole member-however that can change any time the Township decides to change it and add other members. Liability coverage that would be paid for by taxpayers can even be offered to someone who does not warrant it, by virtue of others simply not responding for 30 days.  Liability, funding, public private partnerships, and many other features are left  changeable, wide open,  and easy inlets  for corrupt practices. Nearly every important feature is completely changeable or undetermined.   The By-Laws   or   

      10-10-19  A REFUSAL TO PROVIDE MORE INFORMATION  Board of Commissioners  meeting . They refused to put this topic on the agenda which would have allowed more speaking time. Residents had to use their precious minutes of open comment  because they did not.    Commissioner Kline who has been asked again and again at recent meetings to step down .... because of the Colonade, including an expensive  Grand Jury &  investigation and numerous lawsuits regarding his actions,  because of  ridiculing residents, presenting false information, withholding information from his own residents, and most recently withholding information and defaming another Commissioner. He was recently stripped of his leadership as Finance chair in response to that last barrage of requests. Yet again at this meeting he takes an opportunity to completely twist the words of one resident - presenting falsely what was said  in an effort to discredit the resident.   This should be unacceptable to all residents. And all Commissioners .  One resident tacklethe problem of Commissioner Winegrad voting on a matter that benefitted the law firm where his sister-in - law is a partner. Another resident took on the fully broken PROCESS - that included advertizing a hearing for an ordinance that wasn;'t written, posting the rest of the ordinance just 2 days before a deadline to submit questions about it -- and the submission forms do not work.  Refusing to guarantee that all questions asked witll be answered . Refusing to use all means to notify residnts .  

     10-16-19  -INFORMATIONAL MEETING   7pm at the Township Building . Please see my list of questions for the 10-16-19 meeting that touches on many of the problems. This is to be   information session  - theoretically with  Q & A .  (Although they have left but an hour and confused the issue by creating a form to submit questions that does not work and telling people only questions submitted in advance byt he 11th will be considered.   The information session will precede the hearing - but did not precede the vote to advertise for one. The Commissioners had already decided this is a "go" long before they got ANY input from the residents they are supposed to serve. They are putting the cart before the horse. Your input clearly does not matter. And it is up to you to change that -- or to change the people that  are doing that.  This is one of the most problematic ventures Abington has ever undertaken . Oh yes, some nice things will get built - but you will pay dearly - not just with money but with a further erosion of your power and your rights. And a great deal of your tax money, your township resources , the Township personnel hours and state and federal grant monies, that also come from your pocket, will go into the pockets of people you do not choose.... Via projects you may not like .... building in densities and heights and with shared parking that you oppose ......  And the newfound wealth will undoubtedly "buy"  via campaign contributions  the legislation that will counter your own choices/voices. Please wake up and understand that this measure is not in your interest. If the Township wants something built, they can encourage developers to build it without taking your voice out of the mix, without removing the protections and without getting you to pay to create a series of new developers that will fast-track the overdevelopment that is already problematic. 



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