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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Walkable Communities Housing Boom

For at least a decade planners have been telling Coatesville City Councils and anyone else who would listen that the City of Coatesville, being a walkable town with public transit including rail transit is in an ideal position for the coming demographic shift. That demographic shift is "baby boomers" looking for smaller housing in walkable communities.

I wrote this about a year ago: 
"Coatesville has walkable neighborhoods and business areas now, an east-west interstate rail line in place that is fairly easy to add a commuter rail system to, a north-south line that with some work could carry passengers again, a regional business jet airport that is soon to have direct international flight capability and it's about to get what is called a WOW factor by community planners in the form of the National Velodrome and that is in an Olympic year. A key phrase from Brookings is: 
 "Consequently, few compact, walkable neighborhoods have been built relative to demand, and real estate prices in them have often been bid up to astronomical heights."
The largest demographic shift in US history has already begun. Coatesville will very shortly be exactly what that demographic is looking for. 
In a nutshell, Coatesville is exquisitely positioned to be the epicenter of the next real estate boom of Chester County." 
MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2011 
Section 8 Housing Turning NIMBY on its head and Coatesville is exquisitely positioned to be the epicenter of the next real estate boom of Chester County.

Well it's happened, that need for walkable communities is happening NOW.

The article and study below concerns suburban Washington, DC area. From a real estate standpoint I think that the D.C. area is not much different than Chester County.

Real estate did not go up much and did not crash in Chester County like it did in some areas.

Real estate in the DC area has remained stable because employment in the DC area has actually gone up.  The explosive growth in security industries has driven real estate prices in the D.C. area. SEE "TOP SECRET AMERICA" WA POST.

The real estate market in Chester County appears to be picking up.  In both areas walkable convenient areas with public transit, preferably train or light rail gets top dollar sales in real estate. If you want to see for yourself try pricing homes near SEPTA trains stops in Chester County and walk them back away from SEPTA train stops.

The AMTRAK/SEPTA Coatesville station is scheduled to open in 2015. A lot of homes in Coatesville are in walking distance to the station. 

Now Coveted: A Walkable, Convenient Place

This is an excerpt Click the link above to the entire article


WALKING isnt just good for you. It has become an indicator of your socioeconomic status. 

Until the 1990s, exclusive suburban homes that were accessible only by car cost more, per square foot, than other kinds of American housing. Now, however, these suburbs have become overbuilt, and housing values have fallen. Today, the most valuable real estate lies in walkable urban locations. Many of these now pricey places were slums just 30 years ago....
Our research shows that real estate values increase as neighborhoods became more walkable, where everyday needs, including working, can be met by walking, transit or biking. There is a five-step ladder of walkability, from least to most walkable. On average, each step up the walkability ladder adds $9 per square foot to annual office rents, $7 per square foot to retail rents, more than $300 per month to apartment rents and nearly $82 per square foot to home values. 

As a neighborhood moves up each step of the five-step walkability ladder, the average household income of those who live there increases some $10,000. People who live in more walkable places tend to earn more, but they also tend to pay a higher percentage of their income for housing.
SERIES: Walkable Urbanism | Number 16 of 16 « Previous
Paper | May 25, 2012

Walk this Way:The Economic Promise of Walkable Places in Metropolitan Washington, D.C. 

 An economic analysis of a sample of neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area

    •    More walkable places perform better economically. For neighborhoods within metropolitan Washington, as the number of environmental features that facilitate walkability and attract pedestrians increase, so do office, residential, and retail rents, retail revenues, and for-sale residential values.

    •    Walkable places benefit from being near other walkable places. On average, walkable neighborhoods in metropolitan Washington that cluster and form walkable districts exhibit higher rents and home values than stand-alone walkable places.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

It was Déjà vu for me when I witnessed the Sahas vs City of Coatesville acted out at city council meetings.

The Coatesville Brandywine Creek Riverwalk is touted as the "first phase of the Riverwalk Brandywine Creek Trail'. A logical extension of the  trail along the West Branch of the Brandywine linking the Coatesville section to Hibernia County Park but, as far as I can tell, it's only thought about and not openly discussed. See, "This is why I am writing about this now." & "Are people gun shy about building biking/walking trails in northern Chester County". Below.

What I saw in meetings about the construction of the Perkiomen Trail in Schwenksville was nearly identical to what I saw at the City of Coatesville City Council meetings between 2002/2005. What I saw was the intimidation tactics used at both locations. One tactic in particular was singling out people who came to the meetings for the first time and sorting out "for residents" and "against residents". The "property rights" people in both locations would then "gang up" those thought to be against them. They made a very big mistake when they did this to me.

We were fortunate to have Michael Marino as a champion for the Perkiomen Trail. Without his constant work for the trail it might have not been built. I think that when some "Wise Use" type put a wire to catch horseback riders across a trail that was part of the proposed route it got Mike Marino's attention. Mike was the Montgomery County DA at the time.

Back in the early 1990s people opposed to the Perkiomen Trail were saying (I'm going from memory of stuff said at meetings here.) their property values would go down, that someone "could see them in their back yard" (you could actually see fear in their faces) and that "people could use the trail for burglaries". I think a  reason for opposing the trail never expressed in township meetings was that their marijuana growing operations & cross lighting ceremonies would be seen from the trail. Someone who lives along the Perkiomen Creek told me that (as of 2010) the KKK still had their "ceremonies" but no burning crosses. 

The Perkiomen Trail is extremely popular now. An estimated 379,814 people a year use the trail.  From "Perkiomen Trail 2008 User Survey and Economic Impact Analysis" Real estate listings for homes now say things like, "near the Perkiomen Trail".

 The survey respondents were asked if they had been opposed to the trail when it was first proposed
if their opinion had changed. Of the total, 42.4 percent indicated that their opinion had changed. Of those survey respondents, 74.3 percent indicated that they feel more favorable toward the trail than they had previously. Only 2.9 percent indicated that they viewed the trail in a much less favorable light... 
Not everyone was in favor of the trail-conversion of the railroad corridor. Many of the adjacent land- owners argued that the agreement with the railroad, which dated back to the mid 1800s, called for the corridor to revert back to the adjacent property owners when the railroad ceased operations. Thus began a legal battle that lasted for nearly a decade. 

In 1998, after almost nine years of litigation be- tween the county and roughly 30 property owners who fought the development of the trail, a more creative approach was adopted by the commission- ers. Negotiations began to acquire easements or the purchase of parcels. In some cases where there was strong opposition, the trail was routed off of the original rail corridor. Where it was absolutely necessary to acquire a parcel to link sections of the trail, the county used its condemnation powers and adequately compensated the property owner. 
It wasn’t until 2000 when the project finally gained substantial traction. Newly elected County Com- missioner Chairman Michael D. Marino called County Open Space Planner John Wood into his office and told Wood he wanted to see the trail built before his term ended. To speed the project along, the commissioners decided to construct the trail without federal transportation enhancement funding. 
Section by section, the trail began coming together. The first grand opening celebration for a northern five-mile segment was held October 6, 2001. The entire 19-mile trail was officially completed in November 2004.

 This is why I am writing about this now:

The West Branch Brandywine Riverwalk in Coatesville is a section of a West Branch Brandywine River Trail that could go northward to connect to Hibernia County Park in the north and link with the main branch through historic locations where the Battle of Brandywine was fought to Wilmington, DE and possibly linking to Nottingham Park.  South Coatesville already has a plan to link to the Coatesville section from the south.

However the West Branch Brandywine Trail linking to Hibernia Park and Honeybrook is, as far as I can tell, NOT EVEN PROPOSED. 

My advice is don't be afraid of the people in northern Chester County. They may have a group of KKK Krackers and Libertarian "property rights" people mixed in with their normal folks. But they are much more subdued than the more virulent and more violent KKK/Skinheads and Libertarians in northwestern Montgomery County that the Perkiomen Trail now runs through. 

It took about a decade to build the Perkiomen Trail. The opposition to the Perkiomen Trail was fierce but the people that wanted it were patient and persistent. They responded to the threats and lawsuits of the property rights people with courage and cunning.  I think the Krackers in northern Chester County are a pushover compared to the ones in northwestern MontCo.


If you're interested there is a lot of further reading about the Perkiomen Trail here:

Friday, May 25, 2012

The word about the Brandywine Riverwalk opening has got around.

Photo from about 7:15 on Friday May 25, 2012. I was just stopped for the light and took a quick photo out of the car window on my iPhone. There were about 50 adults and children enjoying the fountain.


Coatesville celebrates long-awaited Riverwalk

May 25, 2012
By Kathleen Brady Shea Managing Editor, CoatesvilleTimes.com

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Look what they did in Medellín

When you mention Columbia here most people think about drugs like cocaine and maybe they remember stuff about Pablo Escobar. If you think Coatesville has a murder and drug problem, check out Medellín.
Medellin's Metro
My daughter danced with the brothers of my new cousin Maria Pitcherella at Vince and Maria Pitcherella's wedding reception.  My daughter was sort of impressed by their dancing skills  she said, “They dance like girls.” Actually were dancing like they do on “Dancing With the Stars”. Anyway since Maria married my cousin Vince and I met her parents and brothers and sisters from Columbia, articles about Columbia draw my interest.
Medellin"s Metrocable
Although it wouldn’t hurt, I’m not saying we need great architecture here in Coatesville to make a change.  But look what they did in Medellín.
If you’re interested in urban planning you need to read the whole article. But this quote in the article basically sums up the philosophy of urban planning in Medellin
Obviously its not just that we built and renovated schools, he said. You have to work on the quality of teaching and nutrition in conjunction with architecture. But the larger point is that the goal of government should be providing rich and poor with the same quality education, transportation and public architecture. In that way you increase the sense of ownership. 
Twenty-odd years ago, this was Pablo Escobars town, with an annual homicide rate that peaked at 381 per 100,000.
 May 18, 2012
A City Rises, Along With Its Hopes 
Medellín, Colombia 
FOR some time now, if you asked architects and urban planners for proof of the power of public architecture and public space to remake the fortunes of a city, theyd point here.
There are photos of the architecture mentioned in the article A City Rises, Along With Its Hopes in a separate article in the LA Times here:

Medellín architecture

Creative Commons Copyright photos from:


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

We need a restart in Coatesville

In Coatesville redevelopment, redevelopment that can bring about an increase in tax revenue for the city began during Paul Janssen’s and Jean Krack’s tenure in the City of Coatesville. The Coatesville Police Department personnel doubled during the Janssen/Krack tenure. I believe that Paul Janssen and Jean Krack were stymied and eventually removed by people who wanted to bring back the drug business back to the “open air drug bazaar” described by former Coatesville PD Chief Bellizzie.
 I believe that with Mr. Rawlings as Coatesville City Manager the tail (city workers) is wagging the dog (city manager). When Harry Walker was Coatesville City Manager the dog was dead. During the Walker Administration the Coatesville Police Department was cut in half, the narcotics unit closed and investigations halted. The Coatesville PD became a reaction force. 
Redevelopment came to a screeching halt during the Walker/Bloc of Four era. Then City Council President Kareem Johnson told Carl Chetty to sit down when he tried to present the plans for “Pennock Place” to City Council. There is an empty lot where Chetty’s building was to stand. 
A Chester County resident and me talked to Governor Rendell concerning the potential loss of million of dollars of grants and low interest loans for redeveloping Coatesville. I got a direct fax line into Governor Rendell’s office. We lost most of the grants. Arson, shootings and drug deals replaced redevelopment.
But were Mr. Walker the City Council and others who worked within the City Government from 2006 to 2010 entirely at fault during that disastrous time? I don’t think so. I believe a few truly nefarious people used them.
The Redevelopment that is happening now; the Marriott Courtyard Hotel, the Brandywine Riverwalk, the train station and once it’s built the Coatesville Velodrome are all left over from the Janssen and Krack era. There is nothing more in the pipeline.

In an attempt to balance the city budget, Coatesville's present City Manager Gary Rawlings intends to reduce the Police Department by at least 10 officers. The civilian support staff is already gone forcing some officers off of patrol.

Former District Attorney Joe Carroll said. “The police department in Coatesville is understaffed and overworked, and has been for many years.” District Attorney Tom Hogan said, “Coatesville needs a strong and fully staffed police department.” 

If the drug business is “good again” and the frequency of store robberies and shootings in Coatesville goes up because Mr. Rawlings reduced the effectiveness of the Coatesville PD Coatesville may become a place to leave. Development coming west from the Philadelphia area and development coming east from the Lancaster York area might skip over the City of Coatesville. We need to make Coatesville a place people want to be. To make it a self supporting thriving community with a good tax income such as Phoenixville, PA 

What a city manager of Coatesville should be doing is making Coatesville an attractive place to live and invest in. Tax income for EXPANDING the Coatesville Police Department, Fire Department and other city services will come from the increase in property values.  Chester County and the Coatesville School District would also benefit from a vibrant self-supporting Coatesville.

We need to re-start in Coatesville with fresh ideas and we need a new city manager who GETS THINGS DONE.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Barry Cassidy Presentation Coatesville RDA Meeting May 21, 2012

Barry Cassidy's presentation to City of Coatesville RDA MAY 21, 2012

Above is a recording of Barry's closing statement. (About one minute)

This is a transcription of that closing statement: 
“I see the housing as your problem. I clearly see that you need you need newer housing programs… That is a proven system that works that has training and back up. You could have local people, people from Coatesville learning how to do this from people from St. Louis or people from Philadelphia or people from wherever that have been through the same thing. It's almost like a support group, in a way in terms of technical assistance.”

This is from his handout at the meeting. The entire document is below:
“I believe that Coatesville has a housing problem, which needs to be addressed through a formal program. I would suggest a Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) style program.  I would recommend that government and foundation grants be secured to hire tenant counselors to create homeownership opportunities. The homeownership effort would work parallel with a home improvement program to enable the current homeowners to improve their residence.”

This is a recording of the entire presentation. It’s 27 minutes:

ROMNEYNOMICS When Bain Capital brought Death to their Hometown

This is why Mitt Romney will not take questions from the press:

"Death To My Hometown"

No cannonballs did fly
No rifles cut us down
No bombs fell from the sky
No blood soaked the ground
No powder flash blinded the eye
No deafening thunder sounded
But just as sure as the hand of god
They brought death to my hometown
They brought death to my hometown

No shells ripped the evening sky
No cities burning down
No armies stormed the shores for which we’d die
No dictators were crowned
High off on a quiet night
I never heard a sound
The marauders raided in the dark and brought death to my hometown, boys
Death to my hometown

They destroyed our families’ factories and they took our homes
They left our bodies on the plains
The vultures picked our bones

So listen up, my Sonny boy
Be ready for when they come
For they’ll be returning sure as the rising sun

Now get yourself a song to sing and sing it ’til you’re done
Yeah, sing it hard and sing it well
Send the robber baron’s straight to hell
The greedy thieves that came around
And ate the flesh of everything they’ve found
Whose crimes have gone unpunished now
Walk the streets as free men now

And they brought death to our hometown, boys
Death to our hometown, boys
Death to our hometown, boys
Death to our hometown


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Monday's Coatesville Redevelopment Authority Meeting looks interesting

The Coatesville RDA is where the future of the City of Coatesville is created.

The agenda for Monday's RDA meeting looks promising:

Barry Cassidy is making a presentation on the "Development of the Keystone Communities Plan"

Friday, May 18, 2012

Is business going to be good again in Coatesville?

Is the drug business going to be good again in Coatesville just like in 2007?
 “The agreement also stipulates the part-time officers will not be paid more than full-time officers and the department will have no less than 25 full-time officers at all times. Prior to any retirements, the city has 35 full-time police officers.” From:

In a letter dated April 28, 2006 concerning choosing a new chief for the City of Coatesville Police Department District Attorney Joe Carroll wrote:
"Chief Bellizzzie did an excellent job in what is probably the most difficult law enforcement position on Chester County. The police department in Coatesville is understaffed and overworked, and has been for many years."
That last sentence, “The police department in Coatesville is understaffed and overworked, and has been for many years.” was written when the Coatesville PD had more staff members than we now have.

We cannot afford to lose police officers in Coatesville; if anything we should be hiring additional officers.

The new SEPTA and Amtrak train station will be here sometime in 2015. The Marriot Courtyard Hotel is open in Coatesville. The Velodrome is in the pipeline.

 The only fly in the ointment is Coatesville City Manager Gary Rawling’s plan to lay off Coatesville Police. That could make the drug business good again in Coatesville, with people digging bullets out of their kitchen walls and the SUR 13 gangs coming up from southern Chester County recruiting Coatesville's youth again. SEE:
Thursday, May 10,2012

From Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan:
"Violent crimes like this are a stark reminder of why Coatesville needs a strong and fully staffed police department," SEE:
January 26, 2012|By Kathleen Brady Shea, Inquirer Staff Writer

Our national economy is finally moving out of the ditch the GOP bankers put us in. The Republican Congress has cut off Federal support for local police. All over the country police are being laid off.  The Republican plan to sabotage our economy by putting police, firefighters and teachers out of work is not stopping our economy from coming back.

Coatesville has a Marriott Courtyard Hotel and a new train station and the National Velodrome is coming.

The fires are over and crime is down in Coatesville because our Police Department was rebuilt.  Coatesville is the best real estate value in Chester County and we are attracting new middle class residents.

Instead of focusing on bringing new revenue to Coatesville City Manager Gary Rawlings is focused on cost cutting.

Less police
= More crime
= People and businesses moving out of Coatesville
= Less tax revenue
= Less police
 A downward spiral
Mr. Rawlings is poised to balance the budget on the backs of the City of Coatesville Police.

But just when Coatesville is finally coming back is not the time to give our city back to the drug dealers and national gangs.

In 2008 a bunch of Coatesville retail businesses had enough of the armed robberies and closed but some long time Coatesville businesses waited for the "Bloc of Four's" inferno of terror to end. But if a storeowner has a gun pointed to his head while his cash register is emptied one more time he might decide that it's time to close up.

Armed robberies, muggings, news of street shootouts and people waiting in traffic jams caused by drug sales in the street doesn't fit with attracting legitimate businesses to Coatesville. If Mr. Rawling's PD reduction policies put drug dealers back in control of Coatesville's streets  businesses looking at Western Chester County might skip over Coatesville. 

Hopefully the Coatesville City Council will have the good sense to ignore Rawlings and take money out of the water authority sale fund to keep police working. And maybe the city council will admit that hiring Rawlings was a big mistake, buy out his contract and send him off to play golf. Who knows, maybe that’s what he had in mind when he came here. 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

“uncomfortable because the blacks were taking over council.”


Gray Rawlings allegedly said something like he is uncomfortable because the blacks were taking over council. 


Where is this guy coming from. Most people in the Coatesville City Council room including most of the people from the community are blind to race.