Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Crisis at Our Doorstep

While on vacation over the last week, I was able to watch more TV and specifically News, than I have in a while.  One of the stories I heard a number of times is the humanitarian crisis we are having at the mexican/american border.   While I was relaxing for the week there were many people detained at the border, a man and his 18 month old child died by drowning, and 1000's of immigrant children were put into holding camps.

While I feel that things have to be really bad where you are to even consider the hike through hot deserts, dangerous people and the warm (sarcasm) welcome they are getting when they get to the border.  The thing that seriously disgusts me to no end is the treatment of the kids.  Kids do not have a say in where their parents drag them.  If you have a kid under the age of 15, you should know this already.  Are you really going to stand for your 8, 9 or 10 year old kid saying, hey mom, dad, yeah I don't want to make that hike up there, I'll just stay here! No, you will grab them by the ear, shirt, shoulder and point them in the direction you want them to start marching!  Good parents do that, parents that want something better for their kids.

What dawned on me as I sat slack jawed watching this totally Un American fiasco unfold at our borders was that, I am a huge animal rights person.  I love all 4 of my companion pets (2 dogs & 2 cats) and I loose my mother fucking mind when I see or hear stories about puppy mills or overcrowded shelters.  Most people that I know, regardless of how they feel about the crisis at the border, are incessed when they see pictures like this:

But when it comes to these PEOPLE in cages and worst yet, CHILDREN in cages they turn a blind eye to the cruelty and complete disregard for human life.  Is this ok?  In truth, I wouldn't treat my animals like the way these children are being treated.  BABIES crying for their mothers, kids afraid of what may happen to them, toddlers being left on their own.  We don't like when people do this to animals, we call them scum and shit, but we are ok when we do this to human beings....Im NOT ok with this...Not for animals and certainly not for children!

How does this make us "Patriotic"? 
How does this make us "American"?
How does this make us Free, Kind and Compassionate for our fellow human beings?

Do you really walk around in fear thinking that someday one of these kids will kill you or someone you love? REALLY?  Well after how we treat them, I guess I would be afraid of that now too.

And before you start screaming "Obama's fault"  this is happening NOW, and get over Obama already, not all the problems in your life began with Obama and it certainly isn't going to end with Trump.

What would you do if it were YOUR child in one of these pictures?  Is this really ok with you?  

We can not and should not make these kids pay for the sins of their parents.  
Regardless of the reason why their parents sought shelter/amnesty here.  

None of us here today, in this Great country of ours, can trace our roots back to this plot of land (america), we all come from immigrants.  Put yourself in these peoples shoes for one bleeping second.   The Irish, German, Italians, Hungarians, all the eastern europeans that are still coming here, the chinese, japanese, indians, the poor, the disenchanted, the christian, jews and atheists, WE are what make this Country the greatest place on earth!  And this INCLUDES these immigrants.  

Is this really ok with you?  
Is this who you think Americans should be seen as around the world?

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, 
whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother 
Mother of exiles. 
From her beacon-hand Glows
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command 
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. 
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
-- Emma Lazarus 1883

Friday, May 24, 2019

Election Results

All the votes are in and I did not win the primary so I will not be on the ballot in November.  I wanted to thank everyone that came out to support me yesterday.  It was a very long day and I met a lot of great Morrisville residences.

I would like to give a special thanks to Mike Yager for all of your help throughout this whole process. I would also like to thank Jane Berger for all of your knowledge of the process and paperwork involved.  I want to thank Jack and Mary for all of their help not only with the election but also with teaching me about the count afterwards.  People don’t really get to learn about what happens AFTER you cast your vote and what goes into actually calculating them.  As tired as I was, it was worth staying there for that education alone.

I also wanted to say that while the day was long it was also a very pleasant day.  Everyone was happy and talked to each other.   In the end it made me believe that even though we may not all always agree on everything we can come together as a community and respect each other with grace and dignity.  We really were the change that we all want to see and I can’t say how much I appreciate that.

Going forward I will still hold my representatives accountable for their actions.  I know that there have been many sore spots lately with people in our town over several issues.   But I believe that we all need to be willing to find a common ground, try to find the things that we can all agree on and try not to focus on the things that divide us.  We need to remember that what may be good for one person may be bad for another, that we are a community with several thousand people, not just a handful that value power over people. 
Your Vote Does Matter
Thank You,

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Power of Doing Nothing...

An old crocodile was floating at the river’s edge when a younger crocodile swam up next to him,
“I’ve heard from many that you’re the fiercest hunter in all of the river bottoms. Please, teach me your ways.”
Awoken from a nice long afternoon nap, the old crocodile glanced at the young crocodile with one of his reptilian eyes, said nothing and then fell back asleep atop the water.
Feeling frustrated and disrespected, the young crocodile swam off upriver to chase after some catfish, leaving behind a flurry of bubbles. “I’ll show him”, he thought to himself.
Later that day the young crocodile returned to the old crocodile who was still napping and began to brag to him about his successful hunt, 
“I caught two meaty catfish today. What have you caught? Nothing? Perhaps you’re not so fierce after all.”
Unphased the old crocodile again looked at the young crocodile, said nothing, closed his eyes and continued to float atop the water as tiny minnows muched away lightly at the algae on his underbelly.
Again, the young crocodile was angry he couldn’t get a response from the elder, and he swam off a second time upstream to see what he could hunt.
After a few hours of thrashing about he was able to hunt down a small crane. Smiling, he kept the bird in his jaws and swam back to the old crocodile, adamant about showing him who the true hunter was.
As the young crocodile rounded the bend, he saw the elder crocodile still floating in the same spot near the river’s edge.
However, something had changed — a large wildebeest was enjoying an afternoon drink just inches near the old crocodile’s head.
In one lightning fast movement, the old crocodile bolted out of the water, wrapped his jaws around the great wildebeest and pulled him under the river.
Awestruck the young crocodile swam up with the tiny bird hanging from his mouth and watched as the old crocodile enjoyed his 500 lb meal.
The young crocodile asked him, “Please… tell me… how… how did you do that?”
Through mouthfuls of wildebeest, the old crocodile finally responded,
"I did nothing"

Moral of the story...sometimes its best to just do nothing...

Thursday, April 11, 2019

A Talk About Grants

A grant is defined as " a sum of money given by the government or other organization for a particular purpose." 

Grants can come from many different sources, they can be federal, state or even county generated.  Some grants are even granted through private individuals or businesses (think scholarships and research grants).  Grants are applied for and the requirements for applying vary from very simple to very complex.  Many grants require matching or a percentage of funding included in the requirements, other grants do not require any other funding at all, some grants even are diminished/satisfied by time.  Some grants you have to pay to apply for, others are free.  All grants come with specific instructions based on the kind of grant and what the grant will be used for.  There is no "one size fits all" description of what goes into a grant or the grant writing process.  

We hear a lot about what it takes to actually write a grant.  Depending on the amount of funding, where the grant is coming from, what the grant is for and the complexity of the grant usually will decide on who or how the grant gets written.  If the instructions are not adhered to perfectly, usually your application will be turned down.  Also most grants are time sensitive, meaning there is an open window of time when it must be filed as a qualification of the said grant.

Some people make it their life's work to write grants.  There are also companies whose primary service is finding and applying for grants.  There are college classes on how to write grants because they can be so complex, time consuming and difficult to write.  Not everyone is skilled enough to actually write a grant, it is definitely a specific skill that not a lot of people possess.  You do not just pick up this skill by way of a job, its not like typing.  Mostly people that are going into public service or community development will take classes to learn this skill.  

So in ending when you hear someone say that writing grants are easy and anyone can do it, they most likely have no idea what goes into the grant writing process.  

Monday, April 8, 2019

Cornerstone Timeline

You may have heard about the Cornerstone Reports, this is a timeline of the events around those reports along with related news articles.

2011 - Talk and Rumors of possibly dismantling the MPD starts to circulate.  Infighting & law suites plague police department.

July 2012 - Because of the infighting & law suites the solicitor and insurance company recommend an investigation be done.  Council hires Cornerstone Consulting to investigate MPD at the cost of $130,000 Plus $20000 for an audit of the PD since there hasn't been an audit in over 20 years plus, $350 per hour, for a special attorney to review the report.  

December 31, 2012 - Chief Jack Jones Retires

April 2013 - Borough received Cornerstone Report

July 28, 2013 - news breaks about the investigation 
Morrisville Investigates Police Department

July 31, 2013 - After 7 months without a head of the police department, Frederick DeVesa is hired as interim Director.
Interim Police Director Hired

August 2013 - Fredrick DeVesa quits

September 2013 - DeVesa files report from his two weeks at MPD
Scathing Report

October 2013 - At 10 months without a Chief of Police, a group of concerned citizens got together to form the Morrisville Town Watch.  Within the previous month a child abduction happened in town and the citizens were not made aware of it until weeks later.
Town Watch 1
Town Watch 2

November 2013 - Dave Rivella is Elected Mayor

December 2013 - Marks 1 year without a head to the Morrisville PD -
Also Rivella appoints Ted Parker to his vacant Council seat.
Rivella appoints Ted Parker to Vacant Council Seat

December 2013 - Cornerstone Report Mysteriously Disappears
Disappearing Report

January 2014 - 13 Months and still no one is running the Police Department -
More Law Suites ensue
More Law Suites

February 2014 - Chief McClay is sworn in at council meeting
Chief Sworn In