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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.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Train Station Meeting Coatesville, Methodist Church Jan. 29. 2015 OVERVIEW

Senator Dinniman-

“Jenn come on up please.

Jenn and I are going to share with you and overview. I'm going to start first Jenn, and then we'll go back and forth.

Within my Senate District as a result of redistricting as a result of redistricting and understand I fought to get Coatesville, Valley and South Coatesville back. Actually it wasn't that hard fight but I did get it back. I’m very happy.

And I got it so I can do something. And Harry and  I are going to make sure that's accomplished.

The 5 Amtrak Stations are in my senate district. If you're on the train it's Parkesburg,  Coatesville Downingtown, West Whiteland,  West Whiteland meaning Exton, and Paoli.

Each has a different situation. By that I mean that communities have come forward with their different needs and their different ends.

So we see the work in the Exton station will start in the next couple of months. And the work in Paoli will be starting this year.

We made a major advancement today which which I can’t yet talk about but will be seen in the weeks ahead in in terms of the Downingtown station, where we will get our acts together there and you will see that go forward too. 

We're continuing working with PennDOT on Parkesburg. The mayor of Parkesburg John Hagan was in, we talked. We're getting that community together to clearly define it's needs, it's hopes in relationship to this station. And you will see that come forth.

So that's the first thing I wanted to tell you. 

The second thing:

What is the idea here in Coatesville. What are we trying to accomplish?

We are trying to have this as a major step. 

Gary Smith has does so much for this county. Gary raise your hand, as Economic Development Head. And let me say one other thing. Gary told me, You know, I fight every once in a while with these guys in economic development. Gary said to me, and I remember. He said to me Andy, I used to sell farm products here in Coatesville and I love the city.  And I know he does. And that's why it’s going to all work out with all of us together, All right?

Now, what is going to occur here?

There was an argument; do the developers build a development and then railroad station?  Or does the railroad station come first and then the development?  It's like the chicken the egg, right?

We settled that thanks to the good people at PennDOT. And the settlement is they're taking place at the same time. That's a political solution, right?

The station is not meant to just simply be a station. You are going to see you later on as more people talk about.

The first floor of this station is going to be both a waiting room and an entrepreneurial center.

It will be built in the way that other floors can be put on top of it. If Harry and I succeed and we get our multi-modal grant, which is a very different kind of grant to get, if we get it we will be able to offer people to do the other floors with 70% state funding and 30%, from naturally, from themselves.

We have already identified a number of organizations and entrepreneurs who are interested in that arrangement. 

End aim is to create jobs. The problem, in my judgment, that I've heard in the 14 years that I was commissioner and the 10 years I’ve been Senator is the same again and again. We sit here. We watch others coming to build this community and we don't have any jobs or part in that building. 

Well that's not going to happen this time. Harry and I are sure it's not going to happen. 

So two things in that regard:
First we will soon be announcing, it has to all get put together, that the unions that are building this at the prevailing wages jobs will all we'll all hire apprentices who will receive training in different trades. 

This building as they build it will become part of that training. They will have permanent training to get other jobs as much more of Coatesville gets built.

In terms of the expense, when it’s prevailing wage it’s no more whether is union or not.. In that regard will have to work it out. 

There's a thing called the PLA (Project Labor Agreement) which we will get through the state. We will have to get at least acknowledgement through the federal government because its a federal fund that’s going through the state. So that will be done.

For too long people have said to me. Oh we can’t do this and hire Coatesville people. It’s illegal, it can’t be done. 

I went and saw what was done in New Jersey. I saw what was done in other states. That simply, it can be overcome. 

And the idea is that the people in Coatesville will be hired for those jobs.”

Harry Lewis-

“I would also like to say as of today, we have already sought out youth and we've handed out applications for those same trades today to start the process now. So that when the jobs arrive we will have young men prepared and ready to work.”

Senator Dinniman-

“And that's the glory of us working together. Harry knows those young men. I don't know them.  I know how we can get where we can get this done and where we can find the money. I know I can get the unions two agree to do this. I have already gotten a number. 

That's how we make progress.

But, you’re going to have to stick together. 

If you start to say we don't with labor. We don't want this, we don't want that. Don't do that, All right. You have a chance here.

You all have to run together in the same direction. And if not, Bobby Duncan is going to have to push you in line and keep order, right Bobby?”


“I remember Mr. Duncan from his younger days and no one will cross Bobby Duncan. Nor big bill Murray, am I right?”

“You are so right.”

“Now, the 2nd. part of this overview. 

We will have Jenn talk to you about this. Why an entrepreneurial Center?

In addition to the students that Harry has identified,  we have a lot of bright young people here in the Coatesville area.

The way young people train and get knowledge in terms of the high-tech industry, in terms of innovation is very different then when I grew up. It's not the incubators that we used to have. That we know we still have. 

The training is done through a conversation with each other. We have a model at 21 south Walnut Street which is incredibly successful. We are trying to get this same model here.
It also means, if it's open 24/7, there are people and lights and activities in this street which will make it more comfortable.  And the fear, that is exaggerated, t that’s fear of people into Coatesville. 

What happens in this situation, you will hear more of this later, “I have an idea, and I want to develop it. But I don't know who to talk to. I don't have access to the technological equipment. I don't have any mentors or people to help me.”

That is all taken care of in the entrepreneurial center. For five dollars a day, $10 a day you get an office spot and you're there. There are seminars. There is fertilization of ideas. 

We will have a place for young people who have ideas, hopes, to come together with each other and get the assistance to take those ideas into the marketplace.

It's working in West Chester. It's an amazing place I can tell you. What I saw there  and the Economic Development had a role in West Chester’s creation, because they invited me to speak, I was just astonished because it's exactly what we want here in Coatesville around this county and it works.

So that's are hope that's what we're trying to do. So in summary here are three rules that I hope we'll play by:

In the first rule is we are going to go in the same direction for change. Is that alright? Good.

The second rule is we are going to make sure we create job training. Some of it will be union job training in construction, some of it will be more high tech job training for young people through the entrepreneurial center. 

We're also going to have as part of that training and hope the role of the arts because as part of any grant project you can put art in it.

Alan Horwitz, For example, and Susan Goldberg are trying to save that mural in the bank. There's a wonderful mural when you went into the Coatesville savings bank to see if that can be saved and put into the train station.

 Norman Guthrie Rudolph mural in the 1st Niagara Bank 1st Ave. & Lincoln Hwy. in Coatesville, PA 

SATURDAY, JULY 27, 2013  
How about a Starbucks at 1st Avenue and Lincoln Highway in Coatesville?

The idea is with young people we are going to have them design something that will be part of area and in the train station. We have already had several offers from Garden clubs so that can landscape in the area. Put art created by young people in Coatesville and take some of the past such as that mural and make sure it is in the station.

So rule number two, is there anyone who disagrees that we should be creating jobs? Good. Now you have to play but these if you're agreeing to the right?

Rule 3:

We can't build a structure that's not going to have any taxes. Coatesville has no tax base and the worst thing we can do is to add to that.

We are going to figure out away, and I'm not an account, I'm not an expert, but there're people who were we are working with, Mr. DeSabatino has done this many times, on many occasions through EDIS. We got to find a way so that taxes can continue to be being paid. Certainly once we get above the first floor. And we even have some ideas on the first floor itself, how we can do this. Even though it's state and Federal money. 

Because we are going to add not subtract from Coatesville base. So that we can keep taxes low so the city doesn't go bankrupt and that I think is a goal we could all share, right?

So if we are agreed to the 3 goals. There's a punishment by the way if you don’t. The punishments we don’t talk to anybody about. But we’re going to make it. That’s Harry’s message to you.  And we’re going to make it together. 

Once this happens and I can assure you that there is already talk about what happens between first Avenue and third Avenue. 

There is already talk about what we can't start to do with the flats. 

The money’s there, we'll make the improvements on 82 at Lincoln Highway, which is essential for what we want to accomplish as well.

Jenn if you could sort of tell about the whole project and and the history of this. 

When PennDOT agreed to come in to Coatesville as one of the stations both Jenn and Toby told me that we agreed to do this and extra money is being put in comma we don't say too much because we don't want other places to get angry at angry at Coatesville. 

But extra money is going to be put in… Because PennDOT does not want this simply to be a station they look at this as for beginning of revitalization. 

I'm telling you that the new Governor, Governor Wolf and PennDOT this was under Gov. Corbett, we thank Gov. Corbett and PennDOT, and Gov. Wolf when he came here said the same thing to me”: 

“Andy, make this work!”

“And that's why I want him back on the 27th to ride here and to declare that. 

To say that to this community. Because we are one hundred years old and we can rise again. This what is the economic center of this county in the 60s and the 50s. I know all the stories about the two movie houses and YMCA where we had internationally known speakers here, It can rise again if we commit ourselves to do it. Jenn”

“I see a lot of faces in the crowd that I know through previous dealings. I want to thank him (the senator) and it's wonderful to meet you.

I had a discussion today with somebody that I had 12 children, I don't really have 12 children.  I have two dogs. But I have 12 children and those are the stations between Harrisburg in Philadelphia. This one is very unique. They’re all similar but they each have their own issues. 

Coatesville is very unique and it has amazing potential. Toby and I are incredibly excited about it. I am honored to be here on this project on behalf of of the deputy secretary and the secretary. I will tell you one of the unique things about this project is the intimate involvement that the locally elected officials have on this project. Not that we don't have involvement one others but when you have a senator and a representative roll up their shirtsleeves and work hand-in-hand 

with the team and with the local redevelopment authority that, that really, that really says something.  It's great, it that means we have support.  

I will tell you the senator is never at a lost for ideas. Which is great. 

Occasionally I have to say senator I’m really I'm sorry.  I don’t think I can do that. So then he gives me another idea, but it’s good. We enjoy it and I will tell you that that brainstorming again from from the senator and from his staff and our great project team and the local members on that have been intimately involved with the project to date. 

I know there's been frustration. 

This project has been kind of a out there for for how long? Way before me. I've been working on this project for two years and the thing I hear is frustration and I'm with you. 

But I will tell you that for the first time there was a lot of talk.  Well what if we do this, can we do that.  And I think the results of all those collaborative discussions are on these boards and I see is really picking up steam.

I'm excited about it. So there's a station and I'll talk about that. 

But I want to talk about some of the other things to that we've discussed with the senator and with the church. The senator elaborated on this.

First and foremost I believe there was some money originally allocated, and I apologize I can't remember which funds and they expired, to improve the connections from Route 30 up 3rd. Avenue to the train station. We acknowledge the importance of that connection, that street scape connection. It provides a pedestrian connection. 
I doubt anybody would argue with me in the room if I say there's not enough parking at the Coatesville Train Station. Regretfully some people I think take advantage of churches generosity and they park in the lot. 

So we've done this in Mount Joy. Where we try to minimize our hard scape improvements, our impacts on the community. And sometimes it's inevitable and sometimes it's right thing. But when you have a church lot adjacent to the station that generally, or it should sit empty Monday through Friday, we look for opportunities to provide safe parking.  Well lit.  Improved drainage. Improve their infrastructure and we enter into these long-term lease arrangements.

It's been a fabulous experience in Mount Joy. We have two adjacent churches…

We took the church members and the Senator out to to Mount Joy and showed them what we had accomplished there for parking. They met with the other church representatives. 

We are proceeding with a project that would improve the streetscape on both sides of 3rd. Avenue from Route 30 up to the train station and include improvements to the church parking lot. 

I have a meeting with the design team I think next week or the following to look at some preliminary designs. I’m hoping we'll have a little impromptu public meeting kind of plans displayed and roll that out to everybody… So it's not this big project but we wanted to demonstrate we are committed to the community.  

We’re committed to developing the train station and that, that improvement, no matter how this is configured will help the existing station and the long term station. So that’s one thing that I'm really excited about. 

This station as you see it up here is proposed. 

When this project first hit the books I talked to my boss a lot about it. Understanding where we came from and how we started this.  It’s important what do we want the end result to be and how far we've come.

And obviously there were fires. Toby said we need a new station here but I don't want to put a new station there when there's concerns about safety. 

It was a kind of a window of opportunity to work with the Redevelopment Authority acquire those properties develop the surrounding land-use plans.

And I think the Senator’s dead on… 

We had hours hours and hrs. of discussions about which is first. What we can't get developers unless there's a station. Well we don't want to invest in the station unless we know you're going to get some private developers in here. So there was a lot of discussion and I think again timing is everything. Some things came into play. The Senator kind of said well what about this and he brought up the existing examples. And I said like wow that's great, so we. again everything snowballed. This was a good snowball. 

So the plans up here today. It's a new station. The newer station would be shifted just a bit to the East. You all know where the existing historic building stands.

So the good thing is we would be out of maintain service at that station while we're constructing the new one which is platforms, towers

It also provides for the parking garage. They've estimated about 420 give or take. 

I'm always curious.  How many people have worked on projects where you have to do traffic study?  How many? I'm always curious like you have traffic guys and their smart guys, truthfully. But they’ll say, “Well Jenn in the year 2035 there's going to be there's going to be 17 cars and make a left at this intersection at 4 o’clock.” Really, 17 cars?  How do you know that? Right?  It's that magic eight ball kind of thing.

We have accounted for footprints for a parking garage. The great dynamic is the footprint allows essentially two office buildings. 

The first building the first floor as as the Senator indicated, he actually gave a great introduction, I'm not even sure I need to tell you. 

It would be basically a seating area. There would be what we call messaging boards. So you know, this train’s going to be in, in 13 minutes. You can buy your ticket through TripTik. There will be again restrooms and an entrepreneurial center. We're hoping, We're thinking that's the idea. 

I'd also like to have a little coffee stand there are because again you can never get enough coffee while waiting for the train. The state is able to because that part of the building will be the station.  We are able to provide and direct state and federal funds. 

Now the levels above it we're limited. So that's where senator and the representative and the community, we want to see it come together because we believe this is the footprint, this is the impetus to again hopefully rebuild kind of TOD center (Transit Oriented Development) surrounding the station.

I think we are out of point where this is momentum, this is real momentum.

Senator Dinniman, “Amen. As my friends would say.”

Jenn Granger-

“I used to really hate that phrase build it, and they will come. 

But I think of all the pieces are kind of falling place and I believe that if we get the first floor of this building constructed and additional floors are constructed for educational rooms or universities or whatever that dynamic is, the market will push for that second building to be built with private investment funds. And I think it will continue to spiral and spill into the community.

So the pedestrian connectivity. The improvements that we’re doing on 3rd Avenue. I think, are dynamic. 

And the highway bridge division senator noted the improvements on 82 and 30. So I think again there’s a lot of things that will be going on. 

Again there’s a lot of things that will be going on. 

The ball has started to roll down the hill and I believe it's gaining in speed and size. 

And it’s very exciting because I think this area has amazing potential and my boss, the deputy secretary and the secretary are very excited about this project across the board.

So again there's some potential layout plans. The design team works tirelessly and I think they cringe when they lay anything out, because inevitably Toby and I have comments.  

But I will tell you that the best comments I think we've ever given a them were on the back of a napkin at breakfast.” 

Senator Dinniman, “In Cumberland County.” 

Jenn, “Toby likes to say, That’s exactly what really happens over bacon and coffee. 

There’s a great design team. They come up with potential renderings of how it could look.  

PennDOT is here, We're here to support the infrastructure, the train station itself. And really help provide the support and make sure it's compatible with the community's wishes and desires as you all and the senator and others get involved and identify opportunities for commercial… 

I think it's where your imagination stops. Somewhere between where you're imagination stops and what the market will bear, maybe.

This is really what we envision. Making sure that, not just here, in every train station that the station itself whether it's improved on existing or is it expanded and shifted that it supports the community.

Because this station and this line is part of a larger regional network right? Harrisburg to Philly up to New York absolutely!

It serves many functions.  But at the end of the day the station is here and it has amazing opportunities to support the initiatives that I hear from the community and the ideas that we get from the design team.  They kind of try to say that,  okay this is what we've heard and this is what we can make that happen.
Mr. Collins has set it on numerous meetings, right?
What do you think? I think we've made real progress in the last year.”

David Collins-
“We've made tremendous progress in the last year. One short story. Eight years ago before I came to Coatesville one thing that drew me here was the the website that said we're going to have a Riverwalk and Train station, eight years ago.  And eight years later I'm here to say the train station is on the track. 

“I like it. I like it I'm going to use that it's on the track. 

I tell people that this keystone line is very unique. Many of you know it was originally owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was acquired by CONRAIL , which,  Amtrak took over.

So my grandfather retired from the Pennsylvania Railroad. I tell people that if he were alive today he would be ecstatic that I'm working on these projects. Truthfully. 

Because, I tell people too:

I truthfully believe he came Home from the train, on the train from World War II and honestly I as I stand here believe today no one has done one single improvement on that line since that time.

So we are given, I tell Toby all the time because he’ll come into my cube, I’m pulling out my hair and he says,  “Are you having fun?”  
And I say can you come back and ask me that in 10 minutes?  

But it's true.  I'm very proud to work on this project. I'm very proud to work with all of you.

I truthfully believe that we're doing something wonderful for the community, for the transportation network that will be here for the next 50 to 100 years. 

And with that I'll turn back to the senator unless someone has some specific questions.  And again my fabulous design team is here… So they're going to help me answer any super technical questions that you all may have.”

Senator Dinniman-
“So to summarize quickly then. 

Understand that this is what up 4 programs in the nation where federal money was given in terms of railroad transportation. The focus is from Harrisburg to New York City.  Already by upping the speed of the speed of the train with track improvements we went from about 600,000 riders to 1.4 million…

So we know that when the train moves and you can depend on it that the use of it increases tremendously.

So what the idea is, if you have a training center. If you have this entrepreneurial center people that take the train will get off there, to come into the city. If it’s a 24/7 operation this area is lit up.  People become people become comfortable with the 3rd Avenue Corridor. 

Eventually we will have working, and there are already some developers who have expressed interest, to make sure stores are built.  A place where people can come and congregate in terms of eating.

You know, everyone used to argue in West Chester for years. We were spending hundreds of thousands on bricks on the sidewalks and new street lamps. The reason West Chester had a renaissance is because Iron Hill went there.  And you know it's really true once Iron Hill came into town everything changed. We should've just brought them in in the first place and then we wouldn't have to do all the other stuff.

Phoenixville it wasn't only because Iron Hill was there too and Molly Maguire's but it's also because of Colonial Theatre. It was the niche that changed everything.

Kennett, it was that Genesis made the decision to stay in Kennett Square and have their corporate headquarters there. 

We are going to use this train station as a means to describe and find our niche. And there's so many ideas out there that are already starting to evolve.

For example, if we can get the New York City in much quicker time. You’ll be only get to Harrisburg in less than an hour from here. You’ll be able to get into Philadelphia much quicker than SEPTA.

You also won't have to stop for long periods of time in Philadelphia. You can go right through without changing all the engines et cetera.

Now if that occurs then companies we'll put their back offices here. You see many companies not only have offices in New York City but they have offices elsewhere. One of the things that helps Scranton is that they actually store a lot of the records in this city of Scranton because they're afraid what would happen if to those computer records if there was some tragedy in New York City.

So we increase that ability. I tell you I took this frame from New York to Exton. First of all I was astounded by how many people got off at Exton. It’s now I believe almost tied with Paoli as the busiest stop in any of the stations in SEPTA that go into the suburbs. Certainly on the Main Line, that's the case.

We need to create the reasons that people get off here and we need to create this place as a destination.

One of the things that always amazes me about Coatesville is you have poverty in Coatesville but you're 5 miles away from some of richest areas in the United States. You know it's really astounding if you think about that. That it's almost like the wall has been built around Coatesville.  And by the way that's not unusual because you look at the suburbs… it's not a formal wall but somehow the pubic the developers in the past built that wall around Norristown. Many around Chester and many other cities that were once the economic strongholds.

We are going to use the station to begin to tear down that wall.

Just as the churches are saying we are not having a wall between the church and the people here in this city we are going to get rid of those walls.

One idea is, is it possible that Coatesville becomes the entry way into horse country. 

You have to understand that the horse business in Pennsylvania, especially here, is a multi-million-dollar operation. You have some of the best horses in the United States… When we increased those purses (at horse tracks) we began to beed more and more horses in Pennsylvania…  We certainly don't beat out Virginia.  We are starting to equal Kentucky.

This is an international trade. I was in Mexico during a time… when the Mexicans were selling horses to Saudi Arabia they were going to buy Kentucky horses. It all fell apart and so they are trying to get the horses bought in Pennsylvania, some were. Not as many as I wanted. 

But what I’m saying is, can we figure out… for example where I go to get my shoe repaired, Mr. Pisano. he's making a fortune repairing boots that horse people wear.  These boots are about $1,000 a pair. They come from all over the country. 

Saddles, feed, all the kinds of things that certainly Mr. Smith knows as a farmer are absolutely essential.

You can make Coatesville that entry way, you see.  

People like Mr. Crosby are here from that region because they're willing to make an investments here.  I've met with so many people in Unionvilie area, because that's part of my district as well, who are willing to make those investments. But we have to make it a little less risky here for that. We have to show we're making progress. We have to help in those investments. 

So that tie in could help us. 

So you see you the ideas are really endless. We just have to use our creativity and our will to get it done.

One of these ideas this entrepreneurial center.  You might not really understand what we mean. So we're going to take five minutes, if we can, to share with you what this is done in West Chester and I think you will see its potential here in Coatesville. 

Some of the training will be for people to work with their hands and their muscle. That’s going to take place. Harry’s recruiting the people. The unions are on board. 

Some of the other training is going to bring bright young people together and look at Coatesville as a place where you can meet and start to change things. 

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