Welcome to the Coatesville Dems Blog

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, April 29, 2010


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Meetingplace – City Hall – 10am

One City Hall Place, Coatesville
Please join us at 10am to start – at that time teams would be sent to various parts of the City to address targeted graffiti areas as well as trash pick-up. We need team leads so if you’re interested please contact Tony or I for more information and we’ll be happy to get back to you asap. Look forward to see you all on May 1st – Let’s keep the momentum going!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I am fine with people who want to remain anonymous.
I received this anonymous comment:
“Has Coatesville already rezoned the area around the train station for high-density mixed use? I can't stand how they want to replace low-income and affordable housing with new luxury townhomes... "Expanding the tax-base" ... To heck with gentrification and revitalization. Where are poor folks supposed to live? Where are we supposed to go?”
It’s a good question and I am very glad you asked.
The area around the train station has been high density mixed use since there was a thing called zoning. The zoning that was changed to any degree in Coatesville is on former heavy industrial zoned steel mill property. There is a zoning overlay on the heavy industrial property so that residential and business development can take place. 

Right now the best estimate of the City of Coatesville’s population is about 12,000 people. We might have a better idea after the 2010 Census. The City of Coatesville has the infrastructure in place, such as water and sewer capacity, to support 20,000 residents. 
Most of those 8,000 or so new residents, if they come, will be living on land that never was residential. 
I believe that gentrification in Coatesville is mostly a political ploy used by people who wanted the drug dealers and the underground economy they support in Chester County to stay in place. Gentrification is unlikely in Coatesville. Any possibility of gentrification in Coatesville is decades away. 

And just where would poor people that live here go if there Coatesville was ever gentrified?  The answer is supposed to be just about anywhere they want to live.
Once a person is qualifies and receives a housing subsidy voucher he or she can live anywhere in Pennsylvania. If you qualify in Pittsburgh you can live in Coatesville. 

The HUD low income housing was intended to be evenly distributed across Pennsylvania’s townships, boroughs and cities. That didn’t happen. What did and is happening is de facto segregation. 

Over one half of the HUD supported low income housing in Chester County is concentrated in Coatesville making what I consider to be segregated neighborhoods in parts of Coatesville. You will find very little HUD housing in Tredyffrin Township. 

So where would poor people go if all of Chester County’s municipalities became middle class and up? That is, gentrified? They would live along side of middle class and upper class people as the HUD housing was intended. What we have now is segregation northern style. 

Below are some of Coatesville City Council President Ed Simpson's comments at Monday evenings Coatesville City Council Meeting April 26, 2010, concerning subsidized housing and HUD:
“It seems like everything is funneled toward certain geographic areas. And what that does is goes against, I think, everything that HUD stands for which is; to try and eliminate segregation.  But right now what you are doing by funneling into certain areas. You’re basically segregating… I think we need to jump on this.”
Listen to Ed Simpson’s comments here:

The City of Coatesville will join with; Norristown and Pottstown and Congressmen Jim Gerlach to discuss subsidized housing and the revitalization of our older suburbs  on June 10 at the Montgomery County Community College in Pottstown. 

The purpose is to ask Congressman Gerlach to publicly endorse First Suburbs efforts to change the fair market rent formula, which is the policy used by HUD.

Western Montgomery and Northern Chester Counties 
Thursday, June 10, 2010, 7:00 - 8:30 PM 
Montgomery County Community College, Western Campus 
Room: South Hall 
101 College Drive, Pottstown, PA 19464

The First Suburbs Project Public Meetings will put our First Suburbs' regional issue agenda before local legislators, administrators, and gubernatorial candidates. We will secure support from these key decision-makers for specific changes in infrastructure, housing, and education policies and funding mechanisms and priorities. Together we can stabilize and revitalize our older developed suburbs that are at the heart of our counties and vital to the prosperity of our whole region. The public meetings are designed to get our voices heard and demonstrate the power of our communities and coalition. All organizations and community members who care about the future of our townships and boroughs should be present. 
All Public Meetings are free and open to the public. To register, emailFirstSuburbsProject@gmail.com
"Southeastern Pennsylvania's housing stock is increasingly segregated, to the detriment of employers, workers and their families, older communities and the region as a whole. Employers in exurban job centers are increasingly finding that their lower-paid workers must commute vast distances because of the lack of affordable housing closer to their jobs. Older suburban communities are experiencing deteriorating housing stock and increases in low-income and affordable housing that concentrates poverty to the detriment of their communities, their tax base, and the life outcomes of the families involved. These housing trends negatively impact the region as a whole, yet our public policies only reinforce these trends. First suburbs cannot access public funds that allow them to build and promote "market-rate" housing to increase their tax base. Affordable housing programs prioritize the provision of affordable housing in areas with distressed housing markets rather than in the newer suburbs that lack such housing. The region as a whole lacks a housing plan that would provide a vision to achieve greater socioeconomic balance and diversity throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania."

Southeast Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project

The entire discussion of HUD and the First Suburbs Project is here:


The Coatesville Train Station and the Keystone Corridor-from Monday’s Coatesville City Council Meeting

Chester County Commissioners Carol Aichele and Kathy Cozzone spoke to the Coatesville City Council at Monday’s City Council Meeting about the Coatesville Train Station and extending the SEPTA R-5 Line.

Chester County Commissioner Carol Aichele, “The Keystone Corridor SEPTA R-5 rail line in Chester County is Chester County’s transportation spine…
Fifty eight percent of Chester County residents live within 5 miles of the Keystone Corridor R-5 SEPTA Line between Strafford and Atglen…
Revitalization of the Coatesville Train Station area is the key to taking that first step to restoring the SEPTA R-5 Service.”
Ms. Aichele said that the SEPTA Board has told her that rolling stock has been purchased in anticipation of the expansion of the R-5 Line to Coatesville, Parkesburg and Atglen. That rolling stock will be available within one year.
Chester County Commissioner Kathy Cozzone,  “We have been so fortunate that within a month we have been had the opportunity to be here to celebrate with you the Riverwalk and the Steel Trees coming home to Lukens Steel and now tonight, expressing our deepest interest working with you to see that the train service is completed.  
I have been working with Rob Berry with the AMTRACK piece of it. We have not hesitated one iota in calling anyone in the Federal Government for some assistance and we will continue to do that.”

Some day very soon people fortunate enough to live in one of many homes that are close to the Coatesville Train Station will walk to train service that can take them to a job in Philadelphia or New York. Or maybe to a Philly's game or Broadway show.

On the way down those lucky people will be able to watch people stuck in traffic from their train window. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Natasha Manbeck-Chester County Planning Commission speaking to the City of Coatesville City Council on Monday April 26, 2010

Ms. Manbeck said that Toby Fauver PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Local & Area Transportation offered PennDOT’s support for the Coatesville Train Station.
PennDOT offered to facilitate a Community Charrette this summer.
PennDOT may be able to identify funding for the Train Station. The Charrette will be fully funded by PennDOT
A PDF about a Charrette in Mount Joy, PA is here:


Stone Tablets

Former Chester County Commissioner and CCRC Chair Teddy Rubino brought the stone tablets down from his land fill saying that:


I think it’s a shame that Rubino did not live long enough to go to federal prison. Maybe he could have snitched a little.

Mimi Wealer didn’t mention the SWAT team coming into the CYWA allegedly through the windows.

Mimi Wealer didn’t mention the time a while back in August of 2008 during “Operation Clean Air” when the SWAT Team allegedly entered the CYWA building through the windows.

The County is correct when they say it’s not the people on Section 8 housing that are drug dealers.

It’s their boyfriends.

People in my neighborhood are concerned about the noise and graffiti from Roymar Hall. It all came to an abrupt halt when the building was emptied and the renovation began. But that’s not all that came to an abrupt end.

When we walk our dogs near Roymar Hall we no longer have to put up with some guy that asks if we want to buy some crack.

The County was surprised and shocked to find that we in Coatesville had some concerns about Roymar Hall.

Our main concern is that the drug dealers will come back.

“I will be the first to tell you that I am so mad right now that I am seeing red…” COATESVILLE CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT ED SIMPSON:

“We had a presentation this evening that confirmed what everyone else was expecting.
That basically we weren’t told about it. For whatever reason, I don’t know if the City knew.
We were told that it was going to be a just what it was, an apartment building.  
Well it’s not an apartment building.
It’s low income housing, more low income housing.
Which we didn’t know about.
Obviously the County knew about it, they gave a Million dollars.
But we didn’t.
And we approved the plan.
We approved everything.
But we didn’t know about it.
And I don’t understand how everybody else around here, the County, the State could give them money.
And we don’t know about it.
It’s unbelievable that they’re going to spend Six-Million-Dollars on a piece of property that appraised as Six hundred thousand dollars.
But it’s going to be another apartment building.
For weeks we have been asking…
You have to meet eligibility requirements to get in there.
The gentleman stood up here and said that we have everyone in there. It didn’t matter what your income was.
Now if you make over fifty five thousand… you can’t get in there.
Why didn’t we know about it?
Did we know that this was going to be low income housing?
Six Million Dollars for a Six hundred thousand dollar property.
and we didn’t know about it.
The County gave them a million dollars the state gave them how much?
And we didn’t know about it.
I don’t understand how we could not know about it.
We’ve had citizen after citizen after citizen come in here for I don’t know how many weeks and ask about it.
And we keep saying, no it’s no it’s going to be the same.
But it’s not, it’s not.
We can’t continue to be embarrassed. I’m sick of it…
We made some changes around here. And we made some promises to the people of this community.
And I can tell you that I am going to sit up here week in and week out and fulfill those promises and obligations that we made to those citizens.”


Mimi Wealer of the CYWA gave a presentation about Roymar Hall.

Chester County is mighty proud of what they’re doing for us here in Coatesville.

Mimi Wealer of the CYWA got Six million dollars to put into rehabilitating a property that’s worth Six hundred thousand dollars.

All of this money was spent without any input from the City of Coatesville City Council or any of its residents. In fact the CYWA and County said that it was rehabbing an apartment building to be rented at market rates.

How nice of the County and the CYWA to surprise all of us in Coatesville and concentrate most of the Counties low income Section 8 housing in here.  

They were surprised and shocked to find that we in Coatesville had some concerns that the CYWA was putting more Section 8 poor County residents into Coatesville, instead of say; Tredyffrin Township.

It is after all, Six Million Dollars worth of Section 8 housing and we know that the lower classes don’t like to mix with the upper classes in say, Tredyffrin Township. The lower classes might even think that’s discrimination if they were mixed in with the upper crust.  And we all know that the County would not discriminate by income or race.

There are a variety of income levels. There are twenty four apartment units. One bedroom is five hundred fifty nine dollars.  The top level 3 bedroom apartment is capped at eight hundred dollars rent.  All of it section 8 housing. It’s County, State and a lot of Federal Stimulus Money.

It’s all government money for the taking. Right?

I am sure that all of the Six Million Dollars is in good hands.

Listen the CYWA's presentation here:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Southeast Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project

Hmmm. It seems like the Southeast Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project is antagonistic to Mimi Wealer's Presentation of the Roymar Hall Project

"Southeastern Pennsylvania's housing stock is increasingly segregated, to the detriment of employers, workers and their families, older communities and the region as a whole. Employers in exurban job centers are increasingly finding that their lower-paid workers must commute vast distances because of the lack of affordable housing closer to their jobs. Older suburban communities are experiencing deteriorating housing stock and increases in low-income and affordable housing that concentrates poverty to the detriment of their communities, their tax base, and the life outcomes of the families involved. These housing trends negatively impact the region as a whole, yet our public policies only reinforce these trends. First suburbs cannot access public funds that allow them to build and promote "market-rate" housing to increase their tax base. Affordable housing programs prioritize the provision of affordable housing in areas with distressed housing markets rather than in the newer suburbs that lack such housing. The region as a whole lacks a housing plan that would provide a vision to achieve greater socioeconomic balance and diversity throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania."

Housing Action Group Report

Southeast Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project

Southeast Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project

Regional Public Meetings

You have to ask why is it that public supported housing non-profit organizations frequently look for buildings in areas where there is low cost real estate. Is it because although they are non-profit, they are not non-profitable? Does the money saved on low cost real-estate go into the salaries of the people that run the organizations?

Should Coatesville City Council member’s cell phone numbers be local exchange numbers?

Mrs. Jones wants the Coatesville City Council’s cell phones that are issued to all Coatesville residents to have local Coatesville area numbers.

I have found that many Coatesville residents on a fixed income have a minimal telephone plan that only includes Coatesville local exchange numbers. When they call a person who may live next door but has a cell phone with a local exchange out of the Coatesville local area, the person calling that cell phone receives a long distance charge for that call.

This was recorded at the City of Coatesville Special Budget Workshop meeting on Wednesday April 21, 2010. 

Coatesville City Council member Ingrid Jones, “I am looking at this from a poor person’s point of view.”

Ms Jones Council Cell phone numbers.mp3

Friday, April 23, 2010

May 3, 2008 “Working House Fire On 13th Ave In The City” the one in the Zoning Hearing

OK, why all the stuff about Ms Ellerbe’s Zoning Hearing that was three years ago.

This is an example of how we do zoning enforcement in Coatesville. And maybe fire law enforcement also. 

I don’t know exactly what happened in the home on 13th Avenue after the Zoning Variance was not granted but nothing seemed to have changed. That is nothing changed until the fire.

I believe we have another Zoning problem on Elm Street with what looks to me like a junkyard.

And it looks like the Roymar Hall will soon be occupied.

Go to the Modena Fire Company website pay particular attention to the photographs of bedroom furniture, mattresses from the attic “bedroom” and the last photograph. The last photograph shows a pile of cigarette butts.

There are no windows or doors to the outside in the attic of the home. I asked if the Modena Fire Company issued any citations for the fire. They said that’s up to the Coatesville Fire Department. 

“Working House Fire On 13th Ave In The City   By Fire Chief Frank Dowlin May 3, 2008   Saturday morning May 3rd, 2008 Modena Fire Company was dispatched at 1001 hours for an engine and ambulance to assist Coatesville Fire Department at 89 South 13th Ave. in Coatesville City for a reported house fire. 

Chief Dowlin was first on scene living only a block away at 1003 hours reporting a 2 ½ story single family dwelling with smoke showing from the roof area. After talking to residents Chief Dowlin confirmed a working attic fire. Deputy Chief Paulukinas from Coatesville Fire Department arrived on scene at 1006 hours requesting a second alarm also reporting possible entrapment.

The fourth part of the Zoning Hearing of May 9, 2007

Brian McComsey
Gerald Pawling
Mr. Collins
Susan Hamrick
Ms. Brown-with an interruption-I had to take a phone call.

The third part of the Zoning Hearing of May 9, 2009

The first voice is Norma Brown another person whose voice is missed.
Susan Hamrick
Mike Zemacke
Jim Pitcherella
David DeSimone, “Do you consider yourself a rental property owner?”
Mike Zemacke “Have they been fining you every day for having a rooming house?”
Mr. Shuler-working out of Michael Whitlow’s office in Coatesville and representing Ms. Ellerbe

The second part of the Zoning Hearing of May 9, 2007.

Zoning Hearing Officers questions to Ms. Ellerbe, “Do you do better than break even with these roomers?”
And, David DeSimone’s question.
Mrs. Ellerbe, “I didn’t know I was breaking the law.”

The beginning of the Zoning Hearing of May 9, 2007 City of Coatesville

Part A. of the Zoning Hearing of May 9, 2007 City of Coatesville. The first of four parts.
The Chairperson of the Zoning Hearing Board of the City of Coatesville at that time was Joanne Chertok. Her voice is missed.

Neighbors comments at the Zoning Hearing on May 9, 2007 DAVID COLLINS

David Collins lives next door to Ms. Ellerbe:

Neighbors comments at the Zoning Hearing on May 9, 2007 BRIAN MCCOMSEY

My next door neighbor Brian McComsey commenting at the City of Coatesville Zoning Hearing Board May 9, 2007:

Neighbors comments at the Zoning Hearing on May 9, 2007- GERALD PAWLING

Coatesville PD Detective Mr. Gerald Pawling commenting as a neighbor at the City of Coatesville Zoning Hearing Board May 9, 2007:

This is a small part of a Zoning Hearing for 98 13th Avenue on May 9, 2007

I’m getting the entire meeting together. More will follow. But I just had a thought. Why was Michael Whitlow not sanctioned when his law partner, Leslie Smallwood, was disbarred?

Entire Riverwalk Change Order Section of Special Budget Meeting April 21st

I couldn't make this work into the previous post. 

It runs from the beginning of the meeting to the approval of the Riverwalk Change Order. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Budget meeting April 21 2010 Riverwalk change order discussion

The City Council and City Administration discussed the Riverwalk Change order number one for contracted work proceeding at the Riverwalk. The additional work removing the contaminated soil will cost an additional $227,765. The City will not pay for the additional work but the grant from the County will pay for it.  The contractor is ready to do the work. There is a second change order coming up that is a deduction of $3, 500.

Rob Barry (Redevelopment Project Director), “The receipt of plan approval letter was dated September 22, 2009.”
Ed Simpson, “And when was this put out to bid?
Rob Barry, “Back in March or April of 2009, I believe.” 

Ted Reed (City Manager), “At the time Buchart Horn submitted the application to DEP there was a box marked whether or not there was contaminated soil. Buchart Horn put in there, no. As DEP was reviewing it and we put out the bid DEP found, I believe it was July, that, that mark was incorrect.  And it was at that time it was advised that the contaminated soil would be required to be studied.  The City hired Geo Tech… to do the environmental analysis provided to the Council, which showed that there was very little contamination in the soil and that would require an amendment to the contract.  And would require a change order when we got to the part where we were removing the soil…This was part of the overall Flats. It wasn’t just the Riverwalk…

 The contractor going in knew that this would have to be added to the contract…

In November and December of 2009 Mr. Hudson and Mr. Barry made a presentation to the Council and the Redevelopment Authority of this overall project.  After the presentation the council left... except for one Councilwoman who stayed.  And then it was further discussed with the RDA about the contaminated soil and that it needed to be removed.

Ed Simpson, “The soil sample was taken in 2004….It’s not like we didn’t know that that it was contaminated… Did anyone within the City or anybody around the project review those documents prior to submitting them?”

Ted Reed, “I’m sure that the staff reviewed it, Mr. Walker reviewed it, at that time Daimler was involved in it and he reviewed it and of course Buchart Horn is actually the one that prepared it. That was simply an oversight.  

Ed Simpson, “This is where my problem with the whole thing lies. We put something out to bid knowing that it was wrong…Because everybody knew it was contaminated...

The honeymoons over people need to be held accountable.  We cannot continue allow mistakes like this to continue to happen on a regular basis. I’m tired of it.  And we always come up with excuses…

If we’re not going to do our jobs right the first time we’re going to find people that can. That’s it, the bottom line.

Joe Hamrick, “Citizens were asking about…what is the contaminant? Back in 2006…”

Ed Simpson, “Well, it’s not the cities money; it’s the City’s money the County is going to pay for it.  It’s somebody’s money. But what it does is, it makes us look stupid. Because now, we have a change order.. Everybody within 15 miles of here knows it’s contaminated…It’s been a steel mill since the early 1800s…For us to think that this is acceptable to put this up to bid… The lack of attention to detail on this is embarrassing. It has to stop…

I’ve had enough. I’ve dealt with this for six years and I’m tired of it… One of the things this new Council wants to see is accountability, and we’re going start seeing it.  We need to see it. Mr. Reed, that’s one of the reasons why we brought you in. It’s to hold people accountable for what they’re doing.”

Mr. Reed, “Well of course this was done a year ago, under a different Administration and under a different City Council and that’s not an excuse that’s just a statement of fact.”

City Council Vice President Karl Marking, “The staff hasn’t changed and I think that what Mr. Simpson point is that regardless of what changes appear we need to hold the staff is fully accountable, as we are.”

City Councilperson Ingrid Jones, “Hold their feet to the fire”.

Ed Simpson, “Now, what is going to be all over the newspapers is that there is a $227,000 change order...”

Mr. Reed, “Change orders are a fact of life... but this particular project I certainly understand and can concur with Council that this is something that should have been caught particularly the engineer, but also by the staff that, when that  box was checked. And DEP did not catch that for several months…”

The Change Order for the Riverwalk was unanimously approved. 
Listen to an excerpt here:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


“The City Council of the City of Coatesville will be holding a Special City Council Meeting for the purpose of 2010 Budget Workshops to review Budget Amendments for the 2010 Budget and to consider a change order for contracted work proceeding at the Riverwalk and such other matters that are properly brought before the Council, the meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 commencing at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, City Hall, Once City Hall Place, Coatesville, PA 19320.

By: Ted Reed, Interim City Manager”

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Candlelight Vigil/Memorial Service to Remember Victims of Homicide and Fallen Law Enforcement Officers

Time: 6:30 pm
Central Presbyterian Church 
100 W. Uwchlan Ave. 
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
The event concludes with a short candlelight walk to the Victims' Memorial in Kardon Park, Downingtown.
If you know someone who should be remembered at this event or would like additional information, contact Gina Basciani at 610-692-7420.

Crack trial Continued

The Johnson and Tinson Trial was continued. No date yet.

It's terminated"

Many times in the government meetings in Coatesville the most important stuff in not on the agenda.  Like the RDA responding to Matt Baker’s question about the status of Chetty Builders North Flats residential development project.
The RDA’s Solicitor Pat O'Donnell responded with, “It’s terminated”.
Matt also asked about Mosaic’s plan for the South Flats business commercial development plan, the one with the “supermarket”.  The RDA said they would be back for another presentation and that the 90 day time clock began ticking today. That is if Mosaic does not come up with additional funding in 90 days they are out of the running.
And, I gotta see this, Mosaic is supposed to be doing another presentation to the RDA. I don’t know, but maybe that presentation was planned before the government changed.
Listen to Matt here: 
Matt Baker asking about Chetty RDA 04 19.mp3

Check out Matt’s blog here:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Remember the guy with the teabags on his hat at the 2005 Elections?

Pat Sellers was the guy standing with Kurt Schenk during the Elections of 2005. Pat was the one with the tea bags hanging from his hat. I believe Mr. Sellers was the campaign manager for the “bloc of four”.

Mr. Sellers may have been the author of some of the pamphlets that were distributed around Coatesville called The “Coatesville Recorder”.
Pat is running for the Pennsylvania US Congress 6th District again. He also ran in 1996. Pat’s main man Larry Pratt is back in the news.

The article below is an excerpt from an article about  the 1996 Election from the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal Thursday April 11, 1996. The PA 6th Congressional District included parts of Lancaster County at that time.
“Pratt is executive director of Gun Owners of America. He left the Buchanan Campaign after the media reported on his ties to the Ku Klux Klan and the white supremacist group Aryan Nation.
Pratt has indorsed Sellers and will be the keynote speaker at a fund-raising dinner for Sellers next week.
Sellers said the allegations against Pratt are untrue and that he sought Pratt’s support because of his expertise on gun issues.”

Larry Pratt was one of the speakers at the Second Amendment Rally in Washington, DC today.

"We're in a war. The other side knows they are at war, because they started it," said Larry Pratt, president of the Gun Owners of America. "They are coming for our freedom, for our money, for our kids, for our property. They are coming for everything because they are a bunch of socialists."

By Ed Hornick, CNN
April 19, 2010 4:28 p.m. EDT

Pat Sellers does not advocate violence against government. It’s the people that may be in the crowd that I am concerned about.

From Southern Poverty Law Center:
False Patriots

Profiles of 40 antigovernment leaders

Eight Lanes Out
Larry Pratt, 58

Larry Pratt, a gun rights absolutist whose Gun Owners of America (GOA) has been described as "eight lanes to the right" of the National Rifle Association, may well be the person who brought the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.
In 1990, Pratt wrote a book, Armed People Victorious, based on his study of "citizen defense patrols" used in Guatemala and the Philippines against Communist rebels — patrols that came to be known as death squads for their murderous brutality.
Picturing these groups in rosy terms, Pratt advocated similar militias in the United States — an idea that finally caught on when he was invited for a meeting of 160 extremists, including many famous white supremacists, in 1992.
It was at that meeting, hosted in Colorado by white supremacist minister Pete Peters, that the contours of the militia movement were laid out.
Pratt, whose GOA has grown since its 1975 founding to some 150,000 members today, hit the headlines in a big way when his associations with Peters and other professional racists were revealed, convincing arch-conservative Pat Buchanan to eject him as a national co-chair of Buchanan's 1996 presidential campaign.
The same year, it emerged that Pratt was a contributing editor to a periodical of the anti-Semitic United Sovereigns of America, and that his GOA had donated money to a white supremacist attorney's group.
Pratt is today close to the extremist Constitution Party and its radical theology.