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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.

Monday, April 6, 2015

2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th stories of the Coatesville Train Station - Senator Dinniman - David Collins -

Train Station Methodist Church Coatesville, PA- David Collins  January 29, 2015

Senator Dinniman-

You see, you could have a first floor that’s just simply a waiting room with a coffee place. But that's not what's happening here. That is the additional investment that this community is getting, which is worth about $2 million from the Commonwealth.

That in addition to be a place in that room which will attract young entrepreneurs. They can come by train or by car and into the parking lot at Olivet Methodist which has now been repaved. 

You now have a center in Coatesville for the evolution. 

Again, understand it is taken me a long time to really appreciate that that younger people today learn and evolve their ideas in very different ways than I did. 

And in fact even as a teacher, I finally had to say to the students and the university,  I really don't know how are you learn anymore.  Because I used to learn in a certain way. So I try in every class is simply asked them tell me how you learn so I can now know how to teach.

Because the way Harry and I taught, you know, people had attention spans, you know it was different.  This is the type of a basis of economic development that we want to bring here. 

You get young people in town they start to talk and once people gather, they want to eat, and if they get comfortable enough they want a place to live. And that's all you evolve a community.

So now we want to have a second presentation. That is just briefly and that's because we have questions. We want Brian and Joe and Dave to come up so you can answer any of the questions you have…

Dave, as you know was on council.  He's retired from council. So I wanted to get someone who was involved in the centennial, you know the hundredth anniversary, to have a key role. Since he is chairman of the centennial because remember in the end what better celebration can we have to the city then to have this station.

And I know Francis the other co-chairman is on board with this, Ms. Sheehan. And so that's the role. 

Ok, Go ahead. Do you have anything you want to say?  Dave everyone."

Dave Collins- (2:36)

“I'm, David Collins, a former council member. There's so much potential here in Coatesville, it's unbelievable. It's like a lot of untapped energy. Everybody has a lot of ideas.  There are a lot of resources out here and a lot of people that are inside as well as outside of Coatesville that want to help, 

The only thing that we have to do is come together in order to tap into those resources. 

For example the train station here is the cornerstone of the keystone line. But the train station is also the cornerstone to the revitalization of Coatesville.

What we did on council over the past three years, we've defined the Revitalization District of Coatesville which is between Fleetwood Street on the north, and Kersey Street on the south.  First Avenue on the west and Forth Avenue on the east.

That area, the ultimate idea behind it, is to make that a friendly and walkable area. 

As some of the others will talk about, the Third Avenue streetscape that will happen and also the lighting of that area, the improvement of our colors. The adoption of our color palette that we have. And getting the community involved in that.

Another thing that goes along with that in attracting people into Coatesville is that as Jenn mentioned, you talk about traffic studies. 

Roughly 15,000 cars a day that come from the west, down route 30 and they turn north to go to the bypass. What we want to do, what will happen with the train station, is to try to attract some of that traffic into that area which brings them right into the revitalization District and into the train station to enjoy amenities the that will exist around that.

Robert Gibbs of Gibbs Planning Group speaking in Coatesville at the “Plan the Keystone” Coatesville Train Station meeting

That will bring them into that area. 

Bring in the train station and it will also build retail growth and restaurant growth and many of the amenities that people like to have in their communities.

Not being a resident of Coatesville, but from Rochester, New York, moving here, I've always felt that your don't have to move in order to live in a better neighborhood. And too often that's what happens. Is when people move away, they take away their finances, they take away the energy of the community and therefore the community ends up with all kinds of issues such as we may have here.

But what we can do as individuals that live here, and and live outside of this area, we can we do collaboratively to make things work.

Well we've come together with co-chairs, for this year just happens to be the Coatesville Centennial. 

Actually Coatesville is about 250 years old before it was incorporated 100 years ago back in 1915. But before that it had a number of other names, Middletown, Midway, Bridgetown, and so many others. All of you that have been here longer than I know that right Jim. 

But anyway, when we come together with the Centennial Planning Committee we're looking at developing a comprehensive set of events that will take place this year to commemorate this Coatesville Centennial.

From that we plan to capture two or maybe four of those events which we want to promote, to happen year over year. 

Now these events, we're looking at bringing in upwards of 1000 people at least. You get that many people coming to Coatesville for the right reasons, it stimulates the jobs that were talking about. 

It stimulates it's restaurant growth. It stimulates retail growth. It stimulates entrepreneurial-ship and ideas. 

And the only thing that limits us as people is our thinking. If we think differently we can make all kinds of things happen. If we just think the traditional way things won't happen so fast. 

But there's a lot of energy that's here that can go along with others that we'll talk about.  The train station but if we focus on that revitalization area that we have here in Coatesville. The potential there is so great it’s phenomenal. You've got potential for starting with some of the developers coming in building new retail space in the downtown area and higher-end apartments. If you do that and people with ideas are going to come in to get the train.  You can live close to the train station and catch your transportation out. 

If you have the retail stores there the people can come in and that's where they can acquire their job. This year alone, in 2014 rather, we had two career development seminars that took place to not only to just look outside and said well who's going to bring me a job but let's say where can you go where can you find resources in Coatesville where you can get the training you need to qualify for that job in the future. We're looking at having those seminars take place year over year and thanks to entities like 3c TV we want to film these events put them on our city website so when anybody's interrogating the website like I did 8 years ago they can look and see all the good things that are happening in Coatesville. They can see how people are involved in Coatesville and how things are really happening on a positive vein. 

Thank you”

Sen. Denman–(8:25)
“Jen sort of summarized this. I didn’t know if you want to add something to Jenn or if anyone had any questions about this essential plan. Just so you understand at this stage it important that all we are all on the same wavelength. So I'm very happy about that, by the way. I'm happy to see everyone together as one.

Yes you have this station. What we are saying to you is that this is a reality. As long as you don’t mind a different direction. This is the reality. 

Unlike every other train station, it’s not just going to be a way station. Half of the train station will be an entrepreneurial center. Similar to 21 South Walnut St.The money for that entrepreneurial center, the way I've been able to work it out with PennDOT, Will be in the money to build the station. you see. (9:00)

It is just a little different, so when you're waiting for the train, you can go in and use the computer. For many Young people, they don't have access to all the hardware. So it gives people access, it’s a kind of dialogue and interaction that is required. So that even when people take a train if they have to wait in a half an hour they have a place to go in that's very unique there's other station that's going to have this. That's the extra funding that we're bringing in. 

So your first floor will be built, that's the given. Right? Now, the question is, it's built in such a way that the second, third and fourth floors can be built then hopefully you can get the adjacent building.

Now how do we attract developers or people that are interested in the second third and fourth floors? If we succeed, and I've succeeded on this many times in the past.  And Harry and I are going to do this together, because he has to get his side of the isle in-line and I've got mine. So really how this works on CFAs is a member of the each of the Caucuses shows up, The leader of each caucus shows up at a meeting. Right? The governor has a representative. I’m just telling you how Harrisburg really works, right? Since the reporter left I can tell you. (laughter)

And what happens is the five people then all have to vote the same way. So much of the, some of the grants go out through a department and their scored. Now that have to score them before they go to the CFA. But the CFA sits there and and if all five agree the money is given, Alright?

So a significant part of the Marsalis Shale money a significant part of the money for transportation will go through the CFA. 

One of the nice things is when you get money from the CFA you can actually use it as part of your local match on other grants. We just did that with the Barclay in West chester. We got 100 extra put it in through the CFA, we now solve the problem and Berkeley is now saved in terms of that beautiful piece of land. Now. (Applause) I know you like the Berkeley.

Now, so, if we succeed, we are going to try to, Gary Smith talked to me earlier today, we went up to Valley Forge to talk about the possibility of an R tap. Which they're due in a couple of weeks. Ultimately those are graded and it goes to the budget Office. So I think we have a shot.

Now, What happens with the multi-modal grant is this, If we get it, 70% is covered by the state 30% has to be matched. So say, just as an example because I know you're thinking but you haven't made your mind's up, exactly what you're going to do, say you want to put a local satellite center there we'll give you 70% of the cost for that floor. You give 30%. You're not going to get a better deal anywhere, for the money all that money that you have.

Art Exhibit Franklin Commons

One of our other thoughts. I think one of the really great things about this county is if you go to “Franklin Commons” which the Moskowitz’s put together. They took the old Budd Plant.  It's the only private education center in United States that has kids from two weeks old to senior citizens and all the educational opportunities in that one building. So I'll try to convince them. I’ll say come on David and Marion how about if you set up something here. By the way they're breaking even. If they did that you see, 70% of the coat of that third floor is covered. They have to put up 30%. Well well when they had to put up the Budd Company they had to put up a100% of that. And by the way if you go to Phoenixville the whole north end has been revitalized by Franklin Thomas. The parking area, The after school activities, The new charter school, Renaissance Academy is moving in. They have now rented all their space. We were originally trying to get the money to make up for the space that wasn't rented. That's not necessary anymore. It's all rented out. 

So, now how about a fourth floor? There there are a number of companies in this region some big ones that are in this region. They've received some help from the state, in Oder to make sure they stay here and to offer jobs. I think we can start to talk about a training center. 

And again from the companies point of view, just as we did with Sikorsky or UGI, there was an interesting dilemma because under their corporate rules they have to be adjacent to an airport. Well it turns out there's a little road called Washington Lane that's between them and the airport. There was a distinct possibility that they were going to leave because you see you Sikorsky, their military helicopters are down. And this is a civilian, this plant that builds the one that everyone wants.  All these corporate executives what their helicopters now. They have bars in them, so long as or not driving the helicopter I suppose it's all right.  And all wood panels and everything, we'll have DUIs up above us. (Laughter)

But again, they had to do an equal match. So when we got 2.5 million in, what do we do?  We've built a bridge over Washington Lane. So now they're adjacent to the airport.  So the helicopters can go in.  And we've not only saves the Jobs we're bringing in hundreds more jobs here. 

So a lot of these companies we've worked with, or we’re in the process of doing some work with the huge warehouse that's Urban Outfitters. They want to do something in Chester County now and they need our help, because they're excited. 

The idea is to get some of these large companies to be willing to do some of their training here. Their executives coming in their trainers can get off at the station. Hey you want to 70 / 30 deal? Take the fourth floor.

You want a fifth floor? 

You know originally Delaware County Community College was supposed to be in Coatesville. And that was a deal with the commissioners. All right? Because I was there at that time. They didn't do it, all right? They decided they'd rather to go to a nice suburban place like East Brandywine. 

So how are we going to figure this one out? Well there's no reason that you cannot and this is again something the Moscovers are doing on that floor, or creating another floor. That you have each university puts up a certain chair for a classroom and then there's a common area, you put up that chair again we take care of 70% they've put off the 30%. And then there's a reason for the people to go there you don't play like the community college.

We've been very fortunate to have Lincoln, Harcum and some others. We've been in contact with some others, We have an interest from five schools. We have Lincoln interest is there, Harry is on the board, that helps us out. You have a great new president at Lincoln, She's a marvelous lady, law degree out of Duke. A PhD just out of Temple in African American Study. She knows the Philadelphia political scene. The Harrisburg scene. Will get things done now. Alright, now.

If that takes Lincoln could offer some courses, West Chester has an interest, Immaculata. Harry went up to the University of Valley Forge, Formerly Valley Forge Christian College and we got a bill passed so that they can become a university and they were thanking us today. They are willing to offer a variety of courses. Now there's even an opportunity for the School District, in this thing. 

And again, Just get your brains working, Alright? Did we show you the possibilities?

What we're trying to do in education now is a concept called dual enrollment Coatesville School District is already doing it to some degree. Here's the situation, the cost of higher education is outrageous. No one can afford it. In the case of places like Lincoln and Cheney which are in our County, the Federal Government cut back on it’s aid program to historically black colleges and universities. So Cheyney's enrollment went down on almost 30%. Lincoln went down but it’s hanging in there. 

We know that there are students especially some students in some of our school districts where they're not having an opportunity to advance their bright people because because even AP courses are on the books but not often. So we're working on the program and we can do the same thing here in Coatesville that we did in other areas. 

Where the students will spend their junior year and senior year at Lincoln and Cheyney but they'll be they'll be taught in the Philadelphia schools at the Lincoln Center in Philadelphia.

There's no reason that we can’t, and you say well where's the money coming from? But tuition at Cheyney, Just the tuition is 6,000 a year. It costs $14,000 dollars a year educate its students in Philadelphia. Everyone wins. The kid, the young person gets two years of college for free. And we're now meeting with THEA to see if weekend get funding for the junior and senior year.

Lincoln and Cheyney now are relieved of that pressure that happened on the federal government ended opportunities for many, many students when they cutback. And the faculty is happy because they get a job. I sat down with the Lincoln faculty because I said if we're going to do this you have to buy into it. We took a vote that day and everyone except for two of the 90 faculty members raised their hand in support. Because they have they have to go down now and teach in the schools. They're the models. They're going to be the mentors. There's no reason that one floor of that Center can't be devoted to that and these universities come here. You see what I'm saying? So our young people to get those two years of college. 

The possibilities are endless. 

Money's short. But that one by the way, the city is Philadelphia school district if they're sending 14,000 makes $8000 a year. The young person gets a great education and Lincoln and Cheney have a new chapter in their historic mission, in Lincoln’s case that went to 1854 and Cheney’s case 1837. 

Now, We’ve got to figure these things out. And that’s how we build the other floors. Then we build from there. 

So, in general, it’s late we spent a lot of time. I just want to know if there are any more questions. Anything anyone would like to say? 

When will the first floor be built?

The first floor should be built, Jenn, I think by 2016 as our plans are now. 

We’re currently working, the development team, under contract for phase 2. This is the results of phase 1.  So, there’s some coordination that goes on with Amtrak but the building can be constructed, again, independently. 

Senator Dinniman, 

But, There’s some economy of scale to. the timing of it. But, we could start as early as 2016 practically. It depends on how long we need to get through the design stage, secure some funding.

Senator Dinniman, 
O, we have the funding but to get it in the right place. 

I want to recap. I hate to ever give you a definitive time but I think 2016 is very realistic. 

Senator Dinniman,
So we hope to have the plans in place by 2016 the earlier the better that year to start construction. If I can get the Governor here then everything speeds up, you understand. Because he’s here he made the commitment. And, Jenn just has to now go triple time…

And so a lot of this is listen; a lot of this stuff that we need to take place between Harrisburg, Amtrak and everything else is really personal in the end. It really is relationships we build with other people. It’s really being able…It’s like everything else in life it’s like businesses. You can go to someone and say, you know I helped you on so and so, come on, this is important for our district. Get it moving. Do me a favor. Get through the bureaucracy. Which is really part of the trouble. And Jenn know this. Jenn was in business, you can’t believe how the state works. And so that’s what we are in the process of doing. 

We can only do it if we are united. The bipartisan part is the legislature is Republican the Governor a Democrat. Harry and I are there. We got the Governor on our team, got everyone together and I want to also tell you the third member of the legislature and that's John Rafferty. John Rafferty had Coatesville. He and I are close buddies. I talked to him two days ago. Because he has West Brandywine still in his district and Caln Township he is behind us. He's chairman of the Transportation Committee and he is behind us and will give us all the support we need for this station as well. 

I chair education, he does transportation, we have it together. We just have to find Harry some Democrat in the House, but we'll get that accomplished. 

But we got three of the four, right? We got the Governor so we need one more to get the five votes and we'll figure out a way to do it. 

But again, it works but understand the way we get this done is to speed it up. The way we get it done is not saying, well we can't do this because so and so disagrees or you don't really have the unity of purpose yet. And that's exactly what's happened to you for the last three years. Ok? 

We have it now. Grab hold of it. Use the Centennial as a means to accomplish it. Alright. 

And let Linda Lavender have her dream of having jobs for Coatesvillians finally, when we do this. Right Linda.

Linda Lavender Norris - President - Coatesville City Council, “Absolutely.”

Senator Dinniman, “So, David and then yourself.”

David Collins, “I just wanted to add one thing. For those in the community who have been waiting to see something happening in Coatesville, the train station coming, not coming, the demolition of the properties between 3rd and 4th will start this Spring. So it actually starts and dust will start to fly and it will be leveled in preparation for the construction in 2016. 

Senator Dinniman, “Absolutely and the RDA has been very helpful here and Jenn and the RDA, they have a very good relationship and we appreciate Pat and the county here. And I think we have it all together now. 

Someone had a question, yes Jim. Oh go ahead.”

Joe Hamrick - Vice President - Coatesville City Council, “I apologize I was late. 

Senator Dinniman, “Oh good to see you man.”

Joe Hamrick, “You say in the Spring they are going to start working on the platform?

Senator Dinniman, Oh, the platforms are fascinating. Jenn, explain how we solved the ADA thing and the platforms in general, the creative thing we got with Norfolk Southern. And what’s happening across the street from the station. 

Jenn, “There’s two things related to the platform that the Senator referred to. One is the track that’s owned by Amtrak we have to make sure we accommodate oversized freight loads, which they refer to as high and wide. So we're doing something innovative with the platform construction. It will have a hydrologic fill up edge. 

Typically… I will tell you that Norfolk Southern hasn't taken a high and wide load through this station, I think, in 20 years, but there is legislation that says we should still provide for that. So that’s one very innovative thing we've worked with the ADA community, Norfolk Southern, CSX because we see this, this will be our first one and we will be piloting is here. 

You'll see it’s going to go in and I know it’s going to be a success. And we're going to be bringing people out. So that’s one thing."

Joe Hamrick, “Yes…”

Jenn, "When construction will actually start. I would like to tell you that that will also start in 2016, but here’s my situation and many of you have heard the speech from me before:

Anything within the Amtrak right of way, Amtrak labor union forces have the first right of refusal. So what happens is, we have so much work, they can’t get it done. So what are the odds the union would agree to let us contract it out? I wouldn't bet on it. But…

Senator Dinniman, “We are working on…"

Jenn, “It’s a tough dynamic but we're working through that. 

Senator Dinniman, “And again understand if we're working on a TLA on one hand and we are helping unions on one hand then some of the same locals of unions can talk to each other. You see what we are trying to do. 

In other words, you reach your hand out you help one group and they can talk to the other group and that’s how we build our allies. 

Amtrak is very difficult to deal with.”

Joe Hamrick, “I understand that.”

Senator Dinniman, “But even to get this platform done within the starting, within the year is our aim but, Mr. DiSabatino, I don’t know if you are still here. There you are."

Mr. DiSabatino, "He left about an hour ago."


Senator Dinniman, “Explain what we’re doing with Amtrak now in terms of your connection and the meeting we’ve had with them.”

Mr. DiSabatino, “We have a long standing relationship with AmTrak at the board level, So…”

Someone, “Sir, Could I interrupt? Could you come to the mike please."

Senator Dinniman, “But it’s true.”

Mr. DiSabatino, “My name is Andy Dinniman.” (Laughter) “We have a long standing relationship on a working level with AmTrak and very good relationships and partnerships at the board level. So we've had the good fortune to have been be able to introduce the Senator to the higher level at AmTrak. To help navigate and break down some barriers to through the bureaucracy. So we are very fortunate to have this partnership in that way. 

Senator Dinniman, “And I appreciate, Brian’s help with that, so we now have a direct in with AmTrak, as you would say. And again, it’s just trying to put the pieces together man. You know we will do the best we can. But we have to speed it up. 

You know the reason… By the way West Whiteland, Exton and Paoli are going in 2016 is because they were sued in not having ADA. You want soup. It’s one way to speed up the Federal Government, that’s for darn sure. But really. And I don't think I’m misstating that. Jenn, there was a suit. 

Jenn, “I'm with you.”

Senator Dinniman, “And the suit and the court’s decision helped us immensely so that we can start construction in 2016 although I didn't think we could. 

Now in Coatesville, we are dealing with the ADA…You know, if no train comes through why do we have to spend all this money so the train can eventually come through, because that’s the Federal deal in terms of freight trains. So if we're going to deal with it…so it’s not easy. But we understand your frustration, man.”

Joe Hamrick, “Well we were first and now we're behind, by three.”

Senator Dinniman, “Being up or behind with the Federal or State Government changes each day depending on who’s making decisions and what’s going on. And the thing we always try to make sure of is we’re at least up and we're not eliminated. And I know the frustration, because I’ve been there.

Joe Hamrick, “We're dying here. dying."

Senator Dinniman, “That’s why these buildings are going to do exactly as you suggested. They will be on the tax rolls. That’s what you asked and that’s what we’re figuring out. In fact Jenn has done some very creative work to figure out how the train station can remain on the tax rolls. And so we’re doing our best, we're trying.  

Yes sir.”

“Senator, I just want to make a quick correction we actually do have Delaware Community College represented here in the community. They run a satellite at the Coatesville Library Monday through Thursday from 10 to 12:30. Classes are filling up.  And I just want to publicly thank and recognize Representative Lewis who worked with us to make that a reality. There were some barriers we were looking at in terms of codes and what not. And so we called Representative Lewis and he made sure that Delaware Community College was able to come here and to be with us and our downstairs will be open and we could provide that service to the community.”

Senator Dinniman, “Well I’m happy to know that. There are three colleges, Harcum is here, that Bill Shaw works on but the original plan when I was County Commissioner was the whole college would be here, do you understand. That Delaware Community College would be part of the redevelopment of Coatesville. We as commissioners pushed that. They didn't do it. So they went instead to East Brandywine. We were disappointed by that. Gary, you guys were involved in that too. When we were trying to get that done. It’s not a criticism of Delaware County Community College, simply stating a reality and if you could get them back offering courses part time, God bless you. And we're happy Representative Lewis was able to achieve that. But the idea with the center is that there will be a place that Delaware comes to Lincoln comes to, Valley Forge comes to, West Chester comes to and Immaculata comes to,”  Someone,”And Penn State.” Senator Dinniman, “and Penn State. 

That there’s one place. How do you get it built? I just try to give one example. Each course in a size of room, that’s how you get the 30% match. So they have the Library or I presume where you’re teaching it now and wherever it’s being taught, this is what we are trying to do. 

And by the way, if you think it’s difficult to work with the Federal Government try working with a bunch of universities that are competing with each other for a demographic where there are less and less students. That is the more difficult thing. But I do appreciate it.”

Someone, “We'll try to hold them to it. We'll try to get them to come full time.” 

Senator Dinniman, “That would be beautiful.”

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