Friday, July 22, 2016

Farewell to Primos

This is going to be a very strange day at the Daily Times.

Because it is going to be our last one - at least here in beautiful downtown Primos.

We're moving to new digs in Swarthmore, actually it's in Springfield Township. I'll have more on that little oddity in my Monday column.

In the meantime, we are busy packing and salvaging decades of memories from the place most of us have wistfully called "the miracle on Mildred Avenue."

The Daily Times first arrived here in this little corner of Upper Darby Township back in 1976. I arrived here in 1982. I have been walking through the doors here for 34 years.

I won't try to recount the memories here, the stories, and some of the in-house intrigue that this old place has housed. Let's just say that some of the things that happened in here - which did not make the newspaper - were as interesting as the stories that did.

Among the many things we will miss will be our own personal Wawa - yes, I still hold a spot in my heart for those old stores that did not have gas pumps and all the other amenities. I have always enjoyed the fact that we could walk a block away to the Wawa, thus missing the most dangerous place to drive in Delco - a Wawa parking lot.

Most of all I will miss all the people who have come through this building.

They were, simply, the best, people who cared deeply about what they did and the product we delivered every day.

Now it's on to Swarthmore.

So long Primos. Thanks for the memories.

For a place that doesn't really exist, you were a great "home."

More on the great open space debate

Speaking of the archdiocese, they are back on the editorial page today.

They seem to be the "silent partner" in this grand debate we're having in the county about open space.oday.

The fact is the county does not own the Don Guanella tract. Neither does Marple Township, nor the activists such as Save Marple Greenspace, who want to preserve it, to make sure they don't pave paradise.

It's owned by the archdiocese, and the last we heard, they have not wavered from their stated position - they want to find a buyer and maximize their financial opportunity.

You can read the editorial here.

About that sex abuse editorial

I always tell people I have "an" opinion.

Not "the" opinion.

That's the good thing about readers. They're not shy about telling us when they disagree.

Take yesterday's editorial on Rep. Mark Rozzi and House Bill 1947. Rozzi is vowing to put language back in the bill that would allow victims from decades ago to file civil suits against their molesters and their employers.

As you might expect, the Catholic Conference and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are not big fans of that language.

That's why they lobbied hard to have the language removed when the bill was taken up by the state Senate.

They were successful.

Rozzi is not amused, and vows to put the language back in the bill in the fall.

The editorial focused on that - and the very delicate position that likely will put several Delaware County House members in, possibly voting on the bill at the same time they are running for re-election. The archdiocese has not been shy about reminding the faithful which legislators voted in favor of a bill that characterize as a "blatant attack on the church."

But I received a letter of protest yesterday from Amy Hill, director of communications for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, for something the editorial did not say.

She took us to task for failing to point out the belief by many that the retroactive language included in Rozzi's version of the legislation is unconstitutional. In fact, Solicitor General Bruce Castor testified to just that at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

She's right.

But that was not what this editorial was about. Both the paper, our editorial page, and my own columns and blogs have mentioned the constitutional issues many times. I happen to agree with them. I'm not sure that language will ever pass constitutional muster.

But this was more about the fact that Rozzi is not about to let this issue die off, and the position the Delco delegation likely will find themselves in the fall.

In the meantime, you can expect to see Hill's letter on our op-ed page soon.

If you can't wait that long, I'll include it here:

Your editorial of July 21 failed to discuss the key reason the retroactive lawsuit language was removed from House Bill 1947 and it has nothing to do with the Catholic Church: It is unconstitutional.

Don’t take my word for it. Look at the legal opinion submitted by the Office of Attorney General. You can read it online here.

“House Bill 1947, if enacted into law in its current form and without amendment will, in our opinion, violate the Remedies Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution,” wrote Solicitor General Bruce L. Castor Jr. Several legal experts and law professors echoed the opinion of the Office of Attorney General at a Senate hearing.

Despite the various legal opinions that the bill was unconstitutional, you chose to focus on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s efforts to inform its parishioners how this legislation targets the Catholic Church and could result in the closing of parishes, schools and charities. You briefly mentioned that the Archbishop questioned the constitutionality of the bill, but omitted any mention of the testimony of legal experts.

Whether you were unaware of the testimony or decided to leave it out, you did not give your readers a true picture of why the retroactive language was amended.

No matter the final resolution with the legislation, the Catholic Church will honor its sincere commitment to the emotional and spiritual well-being of individuals who have been impact by the crime of childhood sexual abuse, no matter when it occurred.


Amy Hill

Director of Communications

Pennsylvania Catholic Conference


Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, July 21

The Daily Numbers: 20 million dollars, how much County Council wants a new Open Space Task Force to find to buy open property, including possibly that Don Guanella tract.

47 million dollars, amount of the deal for the Don Guanella tract that fell through when developer Bruce Goodman could not get his plans approved.

213 acres in question surrounding the old Don Guanella School in Darby Township.

200 people who gathered at St. John Chrysostom Church in Nether Providence to promote anti-violence.

30, age of Michael David Hardy, now in custody in an Upper Darby shooting in which he’s alleged to have fired 20 rounds at another man, hitting him 9 times.

4,000 dollars in crack cocaine seized in arrest by police in Darby Township.

7 months, age of tiny Hamza Ali, whose body was never found. His suspected killer Ummad Rushdi, is due in court for a hearing today.

12 cars that had their tires slashed in Darby Borough.

10 million dollars being donated to Villanova University to establish a center for contemporary global issues.

3,000 dollars worth of coffee that officials believe a woman stole from Wawa stores across the region. She steals the packages of coffee, then takes it to another store and returns it for cash.

62 billion dollar deal that will unite drug giants Dow and DuPont.

3-1 edge in fundraising for Sen. Pat Toomey over his Democratic foe Katie McGinty.

3.25 million raised by Toomey through June 30. He has $7.7 million on hand.

2.9 million raised by McGinty. She has $2.4 million on hand.

3,383 fatal opioid overdoses in Pa. last year. Yesterday the state OK’d new parameters for distributing and prescribing opioids.

1 run on 5 hits over 8 innings for Phils starter Jeremy Hellickson.

4-1 win for the Phils, snapping a 3-game losing streak.

0-for-16 slump snapped by Tyler Goeddel, who had a homer and 3 RBI.

26th save in 29 tries for Jeanmar Gomez

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. No doubt all those scouts in attendance last night liked what they saw from Jeremy Hellickson, who likely will be trade bait up until the trade deadline next week.

I Don’t Get It: Ted Cruz. So much for endorsing your nominee.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those involved in the great debate over open space at yesterday’s Delco Council meeting.

Quote Bo
x: “It’s natural to want to be able to preserve that open space.”

- County Councilman John McBlain, on push to preserve the 213-acre Don Guanella tract.

State reps will be in 'Spotlight' this fall on House Bill 1947

On our editorial page today, we noted that while the key language of House Bill 1947 - which would allow victims of child sexual abuse from decades ago to bring civil actions against their tormentors now and up until they turn 50 - may be gone, the man pushing the issue is not.

Not by a long shot.

State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-126, of Berks County, held a rally on the steps of the Basilica SS. Peter & Paul in downtown Philly this week. He was there to deliver a message to Archbishop Charles Chaput and church leaders: He is not going away.

In fact, Rozzi is vowing to put the crucial retroactivity language back into HB 1947 this fall when it comes up again in the house.

House members rather stunningly backed the measure in a 190-15 vote, sending it to the Senate. That's when the archdiocese put on the full-court press. They unleashed the lobbyists in Harrisburg. Chaput sent a letter that was read or handed out at every Mass in every church in the archdiocese, blasting the legislation as a blatant attack on the church and urging the faithful to contact their senators to oppose it.

Some state reps, including several here in Delco who backed the measure, felt some heat from their local parishes. State Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162, even found himself singled out in the church bulletin in his parish, St. Rose of Lima in Eddystone, with a gentle reminder to parishioners that he had voted in favor of the bill.

The Senate passed the bill, which will also lift the statute of limitations on criminal charges in child abuse cases, but only for future cases. They stripped out Rozzi's language that would allow past victims of abuse a new opportunity to file against their accusers now, sometimes decades later.

Rozzi's vow to revisit the issue in the fall will put state representatives in a tough spot.

Remember, these guys run for office every two years. Every state rep will be on the ballot in November, meaning just about the same time they could be taking another vote on House Bill 1947.

Don't expect the archdiocese to be silent on the issue.

They've made their position clear.

It will be interesting to see how many state reps continue to stand with Rozzi and the victims of abuse.

The movie 'Spotlight' put the issue of child sexual abuse in the national headlines. House Bill 1947 will put our representatives in the 'spotlight' this fall.

We'll be watching. So will the rest of the state.

Hellickson stars - as trade bait?

I hope Phillies fans got a chance to take in - and appreciate - the effort put forth last night by starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.

They may not have many more chances.

Hellickson dominated a pretty good Marlins lineup, allowing just one run on five hits over 8 solid innings in propelling the Phils to a 4-1 win, in the process snapping a three-game losing skid.

But Hellickson is also very likely the No. 1 trade chip the Phils currently have.

The right-hander is 29, and it's unlikely he will be around when this young nucleus of Phillies starts to really flex its muscles.

The trade deadline is July 31. Hellickson could possibly squeeze in one more start before then.

It's unlikely anything he does will be more impressive to scouts - several of whom were in attendance last night. It's very likely Hellickson will be added to a team making a stretch run.

That does not mean what he has done this year for the Phillies should not be appreciated.

Rob Parent was at the game last night and has Hellickson's reaction to his outing - as well as all the trade talk.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, July 20

The Daily Numbers: 10 a.m., when those in favor of preserving the Don Guanella tract in Marple Township plan to pack the County Council meeting to push for a bond referendum on the November ballot.

10 page white paper issued by County Council on the issue of open space.

17,000 acres of open space that has been preserved in the county, according to council.

1,000 acres, how much the group Save Marple Greenspace says has actually be saved by the county, as opposed to private groups.

4 percent tax hike on property owners every year for 20 years, what council claims a $100 million bond issue would cost.

47 million dollars, what developer would have paid for the tract. That deal collapsed when Goodman could not get his plans approved.

200 people who packed the Radnor Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night to blast comments made by top cop Bill Colarulo about groups such as Black Lives Matter in the wake of the killing of 5 police officers in Dallas.

500,000 dollars, how much fed investigators say a Drexel Hill man who was a TV analyst for Philadelphia Union soccer games, took in kickbacks in his job for a pharmaceutical firm.

19 percent raise and an $80,000 dollar settlement for the sister of Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who sued the office.

6 percent boost coming in tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 2017.

1.16 to $1.23 on the most common trip for E-ZPass customers.

1.80 to $1.95 for cash customers.

81, age of TV and movie producer Garry Marshall, responsible for “Happy Days” and “Pretty Lady.” He died this week.

2 straight extra inning losses for Phils.

3 straight losses after 2-1 setback in 10 innings to Marlins.

10 hits total for Phils in this skid.

430 foot homer to upper deck in left field for Tommy Joseph.

1 run on 3 hits and 4 walks over 7 innings for Phils starter Vince Velasquez.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

These Jekyll & Hyde Phillies are back to Mr. Hyde again. They’re not hitting, and wasting good starting pitching again.

I Don’t Get It: I kind of figured Bill Colarulo was going to regret those remarks about Black Lives Matter. He does.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the group of Upper Darby students who will be presenting the “right stuff” at a NASA conference.

Quote Box: “This is a false narrative.”

- County Councilman John McBlain on those pushing a county bond issue to acquire open space including 213 acres on the Don Guanella tract in Marple.