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: Feb 22 Saturday 9am. at the Township
Building - Hopefully a roundtable .
ARE THE questions that I submitted
plus some posed by others
They did NOT pub
it on the Feb 5th Committee meeting agenda so that more could
Previous Meeting / Most recent activity . On Jan
11th at 9 AM, the second special meeting on this topic was held.
It was formatted as a roundtable ( rather than the extremely
unproductive question and answer session that preceded it ---
where all the questions had to be written in advance and were
"chosen" by the Commissioners answering it.) January 11
was the first properly productive meeting I have seen in the
now 14 years I have been working on these issues full-time. In this
meeting, residents were openly allowed to discuss issues and to hear the voices of fellow residents who agreed or
disagreed with them. Comments were not always answered
"countered" by a Commissioner with the "Township's position"
( though there was initially some effort at controlling it in that manner ). It became very quickly clear where some of
the major concerns were . I will soon be sharing a
summary of what was brought up at that meeting you will find it
chronologically (Jan 11th ) at the bottom of this page.
We were promised in September 2019 our questions would be posted - as
well as the answers - they were not ..... not until
December - and subsequent ones were not added as they arrived.
In addition many were answered with a non-answer (ie we
will follow the By Laws ..... and of course they By-Laws are
changeable at the drop of a hat) They are posted here :
We asked for an email information list We were refused.
Commissioner Spiegelman continues to put out information about
this and other issues while blocking some from seeing his
postings or receiving his emails - this is contrary to Federal
Law - and certainly not in the interests of transparency.
Commissioners Spiegelman and Vahey promised questions
would be taking randomly - Commissioner Vahey is seen, on video
, moving those he apparently doesn't like to the bottom of the
Ask Commissioners Spiegelman and Vahey and ask them to
start a mailing list for information on this matter - and tell
them to stop with the games .
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...which will use your resources
- but you will have no control of it.
In essense they want to use your money to fund the creation of a
"developer " that will in turn fund other developers,
and other projects, with no promise of any net return to you.
stated goal is to distance the government from the reaction of
the public - and another is to avoid protections like bidding
regulations, etc.. The entity will be "separate"
no funds will return to you
nor is your input needed for the use of your funds.
This represents a complete abuse of power.... that they
claim is legal .....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
You have only to read about all the other
" authorities that went awry, to understand how bad this
can be. Remember, that before the indictments and
investigations on all of them, there were years of people thinking it
was working just fine ---- just look at our shiny new businesses
- aren't they wonderful? Yes, at least they were..... until someone exposed what was
happening behind the scenes. It doesn't all start the day of the
indictment. And some of the bad characters never get
indicted because no one is willing to stick their neck out to
One entire Board of
Suupervisors was indicted... because they knew of the corruption
and allowed it. The Inquirer just did a giant layout on the
Investigation in New Jersey's authority. It was
eye-opening and distressing. And article in Oct 28th
inquirer involved a redevelopment authority who had
sold properties to an entity without doing due diligence. There
is, generally , no one minding the farm while the dipping into
taxpayer assets is going on.
Most distressing in
Abington is that one organization can then use what should be
OUR profits to spawn another....and another ... and
another. Or engage in any other business it wants
to, as long as the Board deems it "in our interests". You
know, like tearing down the historic YMCA was in our interests -
or building a crazy busy Wawa in the middle of one of the
busiest intersections was in "our" interest. This will not only set development off and
running at record speeds, it will be the Township supervising
itself, allowing itself it's own zoning and deciding FOR us what
is good for us .
John Spiegelman says we'll all have a seat at the table . Utter
poppycock. There is no one that has a seat at the table
now unless they agree with him. He violated all
speaking rules frequently to shut others up - then voted to
change the rules so he had none. Now what could go wrong in a Township that
is not yet finished with the last Dist Attorney Investigation, Grand Jury
Report, Whistleblower Lawsuit etc? You know... the
Township where transparency
is a word that doesn't even seem to be in their dictionary,
where a budget is presented for the first time a week before it
is passed and where questions are rarely answered.
SEND YOUR QUESTIONS
supposed to be (anonymously) on-line with answers
But a full month after the
informational meeting - no such postings are available. So
be just the same as the last minute shenanigans
THE ISSUE Here is a
page with a concise summary of this issue
presentation from which the above summary derived
actual Ordinance ( Ordinance 2169) itself is listed here
Township page that should have the latest links, meeting
published 10-9-19 ( 2 days later
was listed as the cut off for questions - cute , huh? )
The Questions and Answers
just a few
of the many corrupt practices associated with EDCorps
Abington still has an outstanding whistleblower suit & Grand
Jury report ( withheld by tAG of PA Shapiro)
Does it seem wise to wave such temptation before those who
are not yet put to rest the last corruptions.........
(for which taxpayers are paying dearly)
Scroll below to see WHAT YOU CAN DO /// POINT BY POINT /// CHRONOLOGY
you'll find the most recent action at
the very end of the page
Scroll to the Orange "Newsloop" near the top. Sign up for the
Newsloop and get periodic updates on this and other
important local issues
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Commissioners here or
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.
Tell them to publish
each advertisement that they paid to put in a publication on the
page for this issue - It is hoped they have CANCELED
the initial advertisement that was approved by the Board before they even knew what
was to be in it. This was a manoever ( illegal I would think)
that was meant to "fast track" it so it
you knew what was happening. It might have passed in October if
dedicated residents had not brought these serious defects to
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. (Spiegelman said on 10-16-19
that only locals would be on the Board - but that was in
contradiction to the ByLaws presented at that time) You don't want your properties
taken. You want the code enforcement department, that has not
been doing their jobs, to do them - or to be " reassigned"
to clerical work. If a
property is out of code - cite it and it will get into
compliance quickly. In many cases, a fine of $1000 per day
can be imposed. Don't charge residents to
develop it. Instead gather residents in planning how their
rules can be better enforced.
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 - the voters - deciding how Abington should look.
They can invite the businesses they choose for input and ideas.
Butthe businesses should not be determining our town for us -
they do not vote. Their interests are more closely associated
with bottom line rather than quality of life. High
density means more profits for them but takes from the qualities
that residents seek.
Sign up here to receive
our periodic Newsloop updates
on this issue and issues that matter to us all
plans are created by residents,
comptetitive bids can be sought. Start with a webpage for each
area of concern where residents come up with solutions. Include a well advertised webpage where
about the comprehensive plan can be entered -- and then
interactive comments for individual project areas like Old york
and Susquehanna. And a page
where priorities for Budget spending can be posted.
Show the simple math that will put to rest the "myth of the
expanded tax base" where only tax revenue is counted
....never the road/street improvements, sewer expansions,
additional police & expanded services are calculated .
POINT BY POINT
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?
asked to use our staff/personnel for $1 a year. Do you approve?
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
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?
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
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
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
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.
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 ........so 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
The way it is set up makes corruption too easy.
And in many placesthere have been problems with such Boards.
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.
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,
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 them....firstname.lastname@example.org
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
information, comments or questions to:
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
1 hour and 25 minutes in
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?
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.
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
OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK
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
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.
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 .
was held .
my list of questions
for the 10-16-19 meeting that touches on many of the
problems. Thiswas to be
information session - theoretically with Q & A .
They created a form where you were supposed to submit your
questions that did not work. And
tthey told people on Dec 9th that only questions submitted in advance by the 11th
will be considered. The information session was to precede the hearing - but
precede the vote to advertise for one! Disgrace.
The Commissioners had already decided this
was a "go"
long before they got ANY input from the residents they are
supposed to serve or even knew that it was in the residents'
interests. . They put 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, Township personnel hours, state and federal
grant monies from your pockets ... all will go into the
pockets of people you did not choose, may not like and
have no idea what their vision is . They will likely be building in densities and heights and with shared
parking that you oppose ...... because we have seen
Commissioners approive of those . And the
profits that should be returned to you (can you have a
profit when something is "grant funded" ? ) will be
spent creating "mini-me corporations, whose intent is to
multiply tese actions. Their newfound wealth
(your tax dollars) 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 protective regulations and without getting
you to pay to create a series of new developers that will
fast-track the overdevelopment that is already problematic.
informational meeting there was nothing but contradictions.
We understand the Township provides transcripts to Viebit Video
for the Closed Captioning - so we are waiting for them to
provide that transcript that we have requested . If
that doesn't come, we will summarize the meeting for you .
The answer to your first question is no,
because there is nothing to put on Thursday's agenda. The
ordinance is being advertised and will continue to be
advertised. This doesn't mean that the public hearing on the
ordinance HAS to be held during the Board's November
meeting, only that it CAN. If the Board deems it necessary
for it to be moved to the December meeting, then we'll make
We can't guarantee answers by the time of
the public information session to questions submitted after
10/11 (the reference to 10/11 on the webpage is a typo that
is being corrected), but that doesn't mean that we won't
try. It is my desire to provide answers to as many questions
as possible by the time of the information session, and it
is my intention that EVERY question---even those asked after
the information session---be answered. And I will be
communicating all of this to my constituents, as I
The articles of incorporation and bylaws
of the proposed corporation are being completed will be
posted to the website very soon.
The Questions and ansers were finally posted -
as everyone heads into the holidays . Many are not answered.
Many are answere with "non-answers" like we will follorw
the By -Laws