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Public Corruption in Chester County, PA

I believe an unlikely mix of alleged drug trafficking related politicos and alleged white nationalist related politicos united to elect the infamous “Bloc of Four” in the abysmal voter turnout election of 2005. During their four year term the drug business was good again and white nationalists used Coatesville as an example on white supremacist websites like “Stormfront”. Strong community organization and support from law enforcement, in particular Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll has begun to turn our community around. The Chester County drug trafficking that I believe centers on Coatesville continues and I believe we still have public officials in place that profit from the drug sales. But the people here are amazing and continue to work against the odds to make Coatesville a good place to live.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

About the City of Coatesville Comprehensive Plan

We have a Zoning Ordnance but the City of Coatesville Zoning Ordinance is based in part on our Comprehensive Plan.
“All comprehensive plans are subject to the following four common criteria: 1) contain basic plan elements set forth in Section 301(a); 2) contain a plan for the reliable supply of water, considering current and future water resources availability; 3) be reviewed every 10 years, and 4) “…identify those areas where growth and development will occur so that a full range of public infrastructure, including sewer, water, highways, police and fire protection, public schools, parks open space and other services can be adequately planned and provided as needed to accommodate growth.”
The Comprehensive Plan in Pennsylvania-Planning Series #3, pages 2 to 3:

The City of Coatesville’s Comprehensive Plan is up for its 10 year renewal.
The Comprehensive Plan is important because many of the ordinances enacted by the Coatesville City Council have their “teeth” in the Comprehensive Plan.
If our Comprehensive Plan is not renewed on time as required a property owner may be able to challenge our zoning ordinance on the grounds that the City of Coatesville does not have a Comprehensive Plan in effect.

Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code
Article III – Comprehensive Plan
Section 303.  Legal Status of Comprehensive Plan Within the Jurisdiction that Adopted the Plan. 
(d)  Municipal zoning, subdivision and land development regulations and capital improvement programs shall generally implement the municipal and multimunicipal comprehensive plan or, where none exists, the municipal statement of community development objectives.

In Pennsylvania all land use with the exceptions of Federal and Commonwealth owned land is controlled at the local government level. All municipalities in Pennsylvania have to provide a space for every possible land use in that municipality. A Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan allows for every possible land use in that Multimunicipal Comprehensive Planning Area. But if Coatesville were to enter a Multimunicipal Comprehensive Planning Area it must first have a Comprehensive Plan in effect.

St. Thomas, PA had no comprehensive plan. And a company wanted to build a quarry next to their public school.
NOW with David Brancaccio, Feb 18, 2005
“When residents of St. Thomas Township, Pennsylvania opposed a company’s plans to build a quarry in their small town, they did a uniquely American thing: they elected a town supervisor who shared their view. The ensuing battle, like many around the nation that are pitting communities against corporations, raises a question at the heart of American democracy: can corporate rights trump the will of the people? NOW goes inside the controversy in St. Thomas Township by looking at how Frank Stearn, the newly elected official, steered clear of issues relating to the quarry and examines the legal status claimed by the corporation that stopped him in his tracks. “I mean, clearly, it does not speak well to most people's understanding of how democracy works,” says Stearn.'
'BRANCACCIO: And here's where a quarry story becomes a story about democracy both in this township and across the nation.
With no zoning ordinance on the books to restrict a quarry, township supervisors told the members of FROST, they couldn't stop the project.
FRAN CALVERASE: They should've been looking at that as a quality of life issue for our people. And they wouldn't do it.
BRANCACCIO: Fran Calverase is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who now serves as FROST's president.
FRAN CALVERASE: Essentially their response was: 'Well there's really nothing that we can do."

A few land owners have an out-sized say in land use in Pennsylvania. 
They are the real estate speculators and businesses that have deep pockets. Those land owners can influence the Commonwealth Legislators through their lobbyists.
Municipalities have lobbying organizations also but overall the municipal law in Pennsylvania in regards to land use highly favors land owners. What I am getting at is that in dealing with land owners, mostly known as real estate developers, the laws are slanted toward the land owners and communities are on the short side of the law.
In most States in the USA land use is controlled at the county level. In Pennsylvania municipalities control land most use. There are over 2000 municipalities in Pennsylvania. School Districts, Parks, National and State Forests and other entities bring the total number of separate entities that control land use in Pennsylvania to nearly 4000. It’s easy for a land owner who is a large corporation to overwhelm a community with a half dozen or so attorneys or possibly its own law firm against the community represented by a part time municipal attorney.

With concern to land use it's very important for the City of Coatesville to have all of its legal ducks in a row.


  1. As a Democrat, I am appalled at the candidates our party has put up for Common Pleas Judge. Fred Lewis Maddox is a public defender in Philadelphia with little ties to the voters in Chester County. Etha McDowell doesn’t even practice law! Nor has she set foot in a courtroom. The qualifications of these candidates are abysmal!
    Michele Vaughn, our County Party Chairman, is responsible for this mess, and all she is doing is sending e-mails to our Zone Leaders to try and cut down the opposition on the Democratic ballot in the Primary. She criticizes one of the candidates for not being voted qualified by the Bar Association where both of our candidates did not receive a qualified vote! Nor did they even try to for obvious reasons.”

  2. Fredda Maddox, compared to the usual crop of Republicans we get in Chester County, seems over qualified for Common Pleas Court Judge.
    Her public service began in 1982 as a State Trooper in the Avondale Barracks. She was on an elite drug task force unit. She worked in the PA-AG's office as a Narcotics Agent. She was a Special Agent in the Bureau of Criminal Investigations exposing Medicaid health insurance fraud and protecting seniors against elder abuse.
    She studied Constitutional Law under Senator Joe Biden.
    She was a law clerk for M. Teresa Sarmina, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia where she represented and advised the Department of Human Services.
    Ms. Maddox holds a Juris Doctorate, Law degree from Widener University School of Law
    1992 – 1996
    A Master of Science, Public Admin/Criminal Justice degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania
    1986 – 1987
    And a Bachelor Science, Criminal Justice degree Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
    1978 – 1982
    And training at the State Police Academy and F.B.I. Academy.
    And she is a Democratic Committeeperson in Birmingham Township.
    A Common Pleas Court Judge is not the same kind of Judge as a magistrate. A magistrate is supposed to be from the community and preferably not part of the legal system or criminal law system. A Common Pleas Court judge does not need deep roots in the community, local businessmen friends or a pedigree from William Penn.
    Just how long does someone have to live in Chester County to qualify as being from Chester County?
    I can’t find anything about Etha McDowell.
    Not to worry if by some chance a Democrat were to win a Common Pleas Court election in Chester County he or she might not sit very long before the “good old boys” decide to move the judge up to the Federal Courts. Can’t have too many Democrats around.


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