Category Archives: Issues

Reproductive rights are on the ballot in November

It was a familiar refrain during the presidency of Donald Trump – his actions may not have been surprising, but they were still shocking.

For those of us aware of the leaked Supreme Court draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the Court’s official decision to overturn the 1973 ruling and nearly 50 years of legal precedent in this country was no less shocking for being unsurprising.

The Court’s decision was devastating, and its catastrophic consequences for the health, well-being, and basic human rights of women, girls, and all pregnant people have only become more apparent over the past few months. Beyond what we already knew about the consequences of restricting access to abortion – that women are poorer and sicker and more likely to die, and that the most vulnerable in this country bear the brunt of these impacts – we have seen horrific stories like that of the 10-year-old girl in Ohio; a survivor of rape forced to travel to Indiana because she could not secure an abortion in her home state. And now, Indiana itself has passed legislation to ban abortion.

Here in Pennsylvania, reproductive rights are on the ballot in November. There could not be a starker contrast between the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor, and crucially, the winner will have the power to sign or veto laws determining abortion access across the Commonwealth. Republican Doug Mastriano has sponsored a six-week abortion ban and called the notion of “my body, my choice” “ridiculous nonsense.” Democrat Josh Shapiro has rightly noted that abortion access is health care and has vowed to oppose any attempt to further restrict abortion in Pennsylvania.

The Senate race between John Fetterman and New Jerseyan Mehmet Oz is similarly crucial, with control of the upper chamber hanging in the balance. Oz has repeatedly trumpeted his pro-life stance since entering the race, while Fetterman has argued against restrictions to abortion rights. Fetterman has stated that he would support ending the filibuster in order to codify a national right to abortion.

On November 8, 2022, we will also have the opportunity to re-elect our fantastic, tireless Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (PA’s 6th Congressional District) and Christina Sappey (PA State Rep 158th District that includes West Bradford) and elect Chris Pielli (to the PA State Rep 156th District that includes East Bradford); all will continue to champion reproductive rights and abortion access in both Washington and Harrisburg.

Township News

New Pharmacy Coming to Township

The biggest change coming to the township will be the new Walgreen Pharmacy planned for an expanded Bradford Plaza (Giant shopping center). This development, which spans the boundary between West Chester Borough and East Bradford Township, has been in the works for some years, and the Township Supervisors gave final approval on May 11, 2010, allowing Walgreen to proceed with other permits and financing. Walgreen stated that they had already received final approval from West Chester Borough. Construction will include extending Bradford Avenue to Route 322 as well as a self-serve Giant gas station on the West Chester side of the extension. A  concern of the supervisors was limiting the visual intrusiveness of the signs and traffic. Since there will not be a traffic light at the new intersection of Bradford and Route 322, turning west from the Bradford Avenue Extension onto 322 was a concern. However, a traffic study with an accompanying simulation demonstrated that synchronizing the three surrounding traffic signals allowed the left turn merge without a fourth traffic signal. Although there were other minor unresolved issues, Walgreen agreed to give Mark Lucas, the Township Engineer, authority to make the final decisions on those items in order to avoid delay of the supervisors’ vote.

The Specter of Higher Taxes

Since 2009, the township has operated with diminishing income and rising expenditures. This is due, on the income side, to the economic slowdown, and on the revenue side, to increases in the state required minimum contribution to the employee pension plan, the police services contract with West Chester Borough Police and rising employee health insurance costs. Home sales, which are down, generate transfer fees for Township. The 2010 budget includes some belt tightening such as a pay freeze for employees. However, the shortfall so far has been supplemented mostly by using a surplus which in previous years had been growing. Next year the township will likely face some tough decisions, and it has been suggested that a public meeting would help decide if the budget will be balanced through cuts in services or tax increases.

New Zoning Changes Adopted in August

Zoning changes were unanimously adopted on August 10, 2010, which include changes to allow the residential by-right use of rooftop solar panels no larger than the original roof area and ground mounted panels below 500 square feet of area that generate no more than 125% of maximum demand of the residence. Larger photo voltaic panels require a conditional use approval by the supervisors. Also new regulations concerning the use of telecommunication transmission and electrical towers was included in the ordinance.

Ingram Barn

The early 19th century barn on Sconnelltown Road, just behind the nursing home, was purchased from Genesis Healthcare by Peter Stack and is being renovated for a National Ice Tool Museum.

New Fees

At the July 13, 2010 meeting the supervisors unanimously approved fees for written verification of extensions of approved building projects. This was done in the wake of PA Act 68, state legislation allowing approval of building projects to continue for up to three years, due to the economic downturn. The Supervisors explained that the fees will offset administrative costs in meeting this new state requirement. The new residential fee will be $100 and the new commercial fee will be $500, Both are the maximum allowed by the state law.

Resolution in Opposition to State Proposals

Also at the July 13 meeting the supervisors unanimously approved a resolution in opposition to  two proposed state bills.. The one, if adopted, would eliminate all municipalities in the state and make the county the basic level of local government. The second bill, if adopted, would force mergers between municipalities. The supervisors made these comments: Vince Pompo said this may be appropriate for certain services such as police and fire. John Snook said this may be appropriate in rural townships with less than 1000 residents. Tom Egan said consolidation should only be done when appropriate, but it was not suitable for East Bradford. The approved township resolution (in opposition to the state bills) will be forwarded to Harrisburg and compiled with other similar township resolutions.

Republican Controlled School Board Raises Property Taxes 2.83%

On Monday, May 24th, the Republican controlled West Chester Area School Board has once again decided to raise property taxes after promising austerity. Newly elected school board members Heidi Adsett, Sean Carpenter, Maria Armadi Pimely, and John Wingerter campaigned as fiscal conservatives. These candidates promised to cut wasteful spending and hold the line on property taxes. Ironically, one of those candidates, Maria Armadi Pimley,  proposed an amendment to the board to raise taxes for the 2010-2011 budget by 2.83%. Also voting in favor of this amendment were board President Jim Seagraves, John Wingerter, Jim Davison, and Ricky Swalm. Voting against the budget were board members Sean Carpenter, Heidi Adsett, and Vice President Terri Clark. Board member Jim Smith was absent.

In March, Jim Scanlon, Superintendent of the West Chester Area School district, proposed cutting the the districts director of elementary education position. This cut, according to district Communications Director Rob Partridge, would have saved taxpayers $100,000 per year. This position would have been handled by other administrators but the cut was denied by a 5-4 vote. The new elected school board members that voted against this cut were Heidi Adsett, Sean Carpenter, and Maria Armadi Pimley. Also voting against the cut were Ricky Swalm and Terri Clark. The members that voted to eliminate the position were Jim Smith, Jim Davison, John Wingerter, and Jim Seagraves.

It seems that the local Republican controlled school board has made promises it cannot keep. This isn’t the first time that members of  the school board have been in over their head. In October of 2009, then school board candidates Adsett, Carpenter, Pimley, and Wingerter released a flyer to the public entitled “School Board News”. In it, they criticized the school board for the 5.9% increase in taxes for the 2009-2010 budget. A little ironic, don’t you think? As taxpayers, we have to ask why the tax increase after promises of holding the line? Why does the director of elementary education position still remain when the Superintendent said it should be cut? The answer is it’s just politics as usual!