Letters to the Editor

Christmas is better in ‘Pageant years’

To the Editor:

Each year as Christmas approaches many of us celebrate the arrival of a great Light, the birth of Jesus Christ. In this darkest time in the calendar with its too-short days, we exuberantly light up the night — twinkly white lights and spectrums of color, a bright star glowing at the top of a tree, tidy modern LEDs and bulbous old-time incandescents, each one separately screwed into socket after socket.

The lights are fun and joyful, often playful and sometimes inspiring. They declare that Christmas is coming and that we’re unabashedly happy about it. But for me, Christmas is a different and more profound celebration of that Light in “Pageant years” – the odd-numbered years when the Swarthmore Pageant of the Nativity is held.

The Pageant is a gift to our community. It has been presented anonymously by local citizens every two years since 1937, except for a brief break during World War II. Why are “Pageant years” different for me? Because the Pageant is a contemplative representation of everything that matters to me: faith, hope, love, morality, honor, family and community.

On Pageant day, we set aside time to share a physical space with fellow community members where the room darkens and we all fall silent. Then together we let the Pageant wash over us, delivered with the same music, scripture, costumes and set each year since the 1930s. It is wonderfully constructed to convey meaning and inspire thoughts through words, music and light. Scripture readings speak to the intellect. Music speaks to the soul. And the illuminated tableaux speak to the heart which craves a simple, timeless story of inspiration.

I think Ralph Waldo Emerson had it right when he observed in his essay on Intellect that “God enters by a private door into every individual.” Once every two years, I come away feeling that the Pageant offers a unique opportunity to prop that door open for an hour, just to see what may come in.

This year, the Pageant will be held on Saturday, December 23, with performances at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The venue is Lang Hall on the college campus, which Swarthmore College graciously makes available to the community for this event. Ample free parking is nearby.

Each performance lasts about an hour, and includes five tableaux from the Old and New Testaments, along with scripture narrative and music from a volunteer choir. There is no admission charge. All who come in a spirit of reverence are welcome, although from long-ago personal experience I can say that it is best enjoyed by adults and children over the age of six. It is an hour well spent and perhaps you’ll find, as I do, that Christmas is better in these “Pageant years.”

Christopher Stief

Home for the Holidays. Photo by Andy Shelter

A team effort; a magical day

To the Editor:

The Swarthmore Home for the Holidays celebration took place on Saturday, December 2, all around the ‘Ville of Swarthmore. Hundreds of residents and visitors participated in various activities including a 5K Santa run, the last Farmers Market of the season, carriage rides, games and crafts, scavenger hunts, book signings and goodwill activities, which were hosted by our local merchants. The participants also enjoyed live music, local food and drink and a special performance by Jeannine Osayande & Dunya Performing Arts at the Inn at Swarthmore. Plus, Santa came to town via SEPTA train and then a fire truck and the Dunya drummers led a parade through town. The Swarthmore United Methodist Church conducted a tree lighting and community sing along. Hot chocolate ended the day at the Swarthmore Fire House.

The day was action packed and a good time was had by all. We were able to host more activities than in years past, and we could not have done that without our wonderful volunteers, who traveled from near and far to spend the day with our town, making each activity and event run smoothly, and be truly enjoyable.

On behalf of the Swarthmore Town Center Board, I would like to sincerely thank all our committee members and volunteers for giving their time, energy and talent to make Home for the Holidays a success. Whether you signed up to help on the day of, or worked on details for the last few months, your help was invaluable and greatly appreciated.

For those who would like to get involved in the future, we welcome you with open arms. After I left the corporate world this past winter, what I missed was being on a team. Volunteering for Swarthmore Town Center and the Swarthmore Farmers Market has certainly filled any void I had regarding my desire to be part of a team. Volunteerism connects us with others and provides meaning and purpose in our lives. The people I have met and worked with this year in Swarthmore are some of the most creative, kind, hardworking, and dedicated people I have crossed paths with in my career. I encourage anyone interested in continuing to help make our small town great to get involved in any way you can.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

Shannon Elliott
Swarthmore Town Center Board Member

Swarthmore CO-OP Equity Campaign lifts off

To the Editor:

By now, you must have noticed the colorful balloons taped to the CO-OP’s windows. Each balloon represents an owner who chose to invest in the CO-OP by raising their equity stake. The large banner at the entrance tracks the total owner investments, currently at about $35,000, against the campaign goal of $150,000.

The $150,000 campaign goal is not arbitrary or a “would be nice”; it is mission-critical funding for the CO-OP’s continuing operations in 2018 while the plan for profitability is being implemented. Our current GM has brought the CO-OP a long way in the 11 months that he’s been on the job, largely by reorganizing and cost cutting. But when the large oven that is used by the prepared foods, catering and deli departments broke, as happened a few weeks ago, it represents a major setback. This was only one on a long list of unanticipated expenses; this is why the CO-OP needs working capital and a cash reserve.

Make no mistake: raising your equity stake in the CO-OP is not a donation or gift – it is an investment in the CO-OP’s future. If you raise your equity by $1,000, you receive an additional 200 shares. There also is no one else to appeal to – no corporate deep pocket, no endowment, no governmental largesse. Like the Swarthmorean you are reading, the CO-OP enriches the community and makes living here such a unique experience. The CO-OP is of the community and for the community, and therefore it is up to us to support it.

Lest we forget the role the CO-OP plays in our lives, here is a fun fact: total online orders for local, farm-fresh Howe Farm turkeys this Thanksgiving exceeded four tons! 8,300 pounds of turkey to be exact. And Mike and his staff stand ready again to accept and prepare your online holiday orders – whether prime beef, oysters, lobster tails or caviar – with care and a smile.

Before the year ends, please take a moment to join if you are not an owner, or to “up your equity” if you are. The process is simple: ask one of the cashiers in the store, make your commitment, and your balloon will be added to the window. Or, email ownership@swarthmore.coop at any time with your support commitment.

Without your support, there won’t be a CO-OP. So, thank you for adding your balloon!

Michael Markowicz
Member, Board of Directors of the Swarthmore CO-OP

The Turkey Trotters photographed by Angus Shieh.

Thanks, Turkey Trotters

To the Editor:

On a beautiful Thanksgiving morning, over 360 Turkey Trotters gathered for the Inaugural Delco Turkey Trot. We would like to thank all of the participants, volunteers and sponsors for making this event such a success.

The money raised will go to the Nether Providence Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization, which helps to provide additional funds and programs to the school.

Thank you again, WSSD community, for your support. We look forward to seeing you next Thanksgiving!

The Delco Turkey Trot Organizers

Letters to the Editor

Parsing the Biddle riddle

To the Editor:

I wish it were so that beer and wine were not defined as spirituous liquors. But by Mr. Addison’s statutory interpretation (Swarthmorean, Nov. 17, 2017: “Distilling the truth”), so, too, would the Second Amendment restrict gun ownership to a musket or a blunderbuss. Constitutional interpretation (Commonwealth and federal) does change with time, and now ownership of a semi-automatic weapon is protected by an 18th century document. So is the 19th century Biddle Riddle. See you at the Broad Table to discuss over grog?

Pat Flanigan

Fall foliage

To the Editor:

Hola! Swarthmore rakers … You need not cope with flaccid plastic tines, or with metal tines which damage your grass as they scratch your thatch. Charlie’s hardware has bamboo rakes. These give you that extra snap which propels leaves toward your compost pile in a most satisfactory manner. (“Blowers” take note.)

John Brodsky

Who’s there?

To the Editor:

Franz Kafka once commented that he could detect the diabolical powers and forces of the future knocking at the door. Can you hear the knocking?

Allan Irving

Condemn hateful tweets

To the Editor:

President Trump has tweeted videos from a U.K. hate group which Prime Minister Theresa May has denounced as “hateful material” full of distortions and lies, stoking tensions and hatred of Muslims. She also denounced release of the videos by her putative ally, President Trump, as “wrong.” The President’s actions are similar to his circulation without verification of a discredited story asserting that American Muslims celebrated the tragedy of 9-11. The circulation of these hateful videos will likely result in more of the attacks against Muslims and bombings of mosques which I believe are due to the irresponsible behavior of our President and the failure of political and religious leaders to condemn it. I am not a clinician and do not diagnose mental health patients. However, I have conducted mental health research programs for more than 20 years and am quite familiar with diagnostic criteria for mental disorders. They are detailed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the “Bible” for clinical diagnosis. In my opinion President Trump suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance; preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, and brilliance; requires excessive admiration; and unwillingness to recognize or identify with the feelings of others, in this case Muslims. Perhaps the President’s mental illness mitigates his responsibility. But it does not mitigate that of America’s faith communities. Each must now decide whether to remain silent or speak out in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors, who are now even more vulnerable to attack. Martin Luther King said that there comes a time when silence is betrayal. I believe that time has come. This is a moral issue, it is not a partisan political issue. We must never forget the lesson history teaches regarding the consequences of silence as a response to attacks upon a religious group by agents of a government. I feel that the religious leaders of churches and synagogues that claim faithfulness to Christ or Torah must publicly stand with the Muslim community or forfeit any claim to moral authority.

Grant Grissom

Letter to the Editor

Recycling: a numbers game

To the Editor:

In the November 17 issue of The Swarthmorean, there is an ode to the newspaper, “If it’s fit to read, it’s fit to print.” This is followed by the necessity of recycling.

One of the items mentioned the author puts in the recycling bin is “large, hinged containers once filled with Caesar salad from 320 Market.” I don’t know where the author resides, but mention is made of “our neck of the Wallingford woods.”

It should be noted that in Swarthmore, one may NOT recycle the clear plastic containers that the 320 Market Caesar salad comes in since it is a no. 6 PS plastic, clearly excluded from the list on the borough’s website, along with no. 3 plastic, too.

Last year I even asked the borough office about this just to make sure, and they replied that our recycler cannot handle clear no. 6 PS plastic. However, it seems it can be recycled in other local jurisdictions.

A friend of mine lives in Moylan-Rose Valley, and he says they are allowed to recycle no. 6 there, so I save mine and give it to him for recycling whenever we see each other.

Alas, the Co-op uses a lot of clamshell containers made from no. 6 plastic for their sandwiches and salads. I spoke with the manager a couple of years ago about this problem, saying we couldn’t recycle this here, and he said he’d look into trying to find containers with plastics that we can recycle here, but so far there has been no change. The Co-op, however, does use other plastics for other different sized containers.

I look forward to the day when we, too, in Swarthmore are allowed to recycle no. 6 PS clear plastic so I don’t have to save it all to hand over to my Moylan-Rose Valley friend.

George Huber

Letters to the Editor

Distilling the truth

To the Editor:

The Biddle Riddle. It appears to me, that selling beer (or even wine) in the Co-op would not violate the terms of the Biddle Tract covenant.

Pennsylvania Statutes Title 47 P.S. Liquor § 1-102, define a “liquor” as “any alcoholic, spirituous, vinous, fermented or other alcoholic beverage, powdered alcohol, or combination of liquors and mixed liquor a part of which is spirituous, vinous, fermented or otherwise alcoholic … except pure ethyl alcohol and malt or brewed beverages.”

The last exclusion refers to “any beer, lager beer, ale, porter … alcoholic cider and mead.” The statutes do not define “spirituous,” but the universal dictionary definition of that is: “containing or impregnated with alcohol obtained by distillation of spirituous liquors.” The statutory definition of wine is “liquor which is fermented from grapes and other fruits” without addition of “alcohol derived from malt, grain, cereal, molasses or cactus [sic].”

So, neither wine nor beer are “spirituous liquors” within the meaning of the term in the Commonwealth.

Tony Addison

The wonderful Fetter concerts

To the Editor:

Just a short note to remind everyone that the the wonderful (and wonderfully free) Fetter Concert Series has started again at Lang Hall. (This hall is named for Eugene Lang ’38, and not, as someone whispered, Lang Lang.)

On Friday, November 17, we heard a diverse program including Festak Variations by Branch Freeman ’20, a scintillating and humorous set of variations, excerpts from Samuel Barber’s little heard Souvenir Suite for two pianos with a set of three rotating pianists, along with Brahms, Dvorak, and Gospel selections.

The next Fetter Concert is Friday, December 1st. Consult the Swarthmorean and the College website for these and other College concerts.

Bob Small

Letters to the Editor

Scout wreaths on sale soon

To the Editor:

With the holidays coming up quickly, Swarthmore Troop 112 will be conducting their annual wreath sale again. The wreaths are expected soon, and the boys will be in the neighborhood selling them after Thanksgiving, door to door and in the town center.

This fundraiser helps the troop purchase gear and participate in outdoor activities throughout the year. Over the past year the troop has gone skiing, camping, backpacking, to the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, to summer camp in the Poconos, whitewater rafting, camping at Hershey Park, and on many more fun activities.

The wreath sale helps the boys raise funds to help cover part of the cost of these activities. The generous support of the community is greatly appreciated, as always.

The 20” wreaths are being sold for $16 each, and can be purchased from the scouts as they sell them or by contacting the troop at coltroop112@gmail.com.

Kevin Connell
Troop 112 Treasurer

SPL Books $9K from sale

To the Editor:

The Friends of the Swarthmore Public Library wishes to thank everyone who helped to make our recent Fall Book & Bake Sale a roaring success! With hard work, enthusiasm, great community participation and many hands, we were able to raise $9,081 for the library, which it will use for its ongoing programming, collection development, outreach and other expenses. The books brought in $8,265, and the delicious baked goods brought in $816.

Thanking individuals by name is not possible — there were far too many in our generous community who helped, by donating books and other items, helping to sort, price and display them, contributing home-baked treats, collecting money, publicizing the event, and participating in set-up and clean-up. If you did any of these things, please give yourself a big pat on the back and know that your efforts are appreciated greatly by the library and the Friends. And if you shopped, thanks as well, for supporting the library with your purchases.

One name, however, we simply must mention, that of Bern Rehberg, who offered his long-standing expertise and experience to our efforts, with hard work, wisdom, and good humor. Thank you Bern, for all that you did to make this a successful sale!

The Spring Book & Bake sale will take place April 26-28, 2018. We will start accepting donations again after November 25, on the red cart right inside the library doors.See you all at the library!

Jeannine Anckaitis, Carol Kennedy, Anne Papa, and Betty Wallace
Executive Board of the Friends of the Swarthmore Public Library

Letters to the Editor

Save the date — Home for the Holidays

To the Editor:

As has been a Swarthmore tradition for years, Home for the Holidays will again take place on the first Saturday, December 2. The events and festivities are being expanded this year.

This year will feature the inaugural Santa 5K Run/Walk through the streets of Swarthmore on the morning of December 2, at 8:45 a.m. (registration at 7:45 a.m.). Come dressed as Jolly Old St. Nick, his reindeer, or elves! All pre-registered runners will receive a long-sleeved t-shirt to commemorate their participation.

Starting at 2:30 p.m., a multitude of activities for the whole family kick off Home for the Holidays. There will be a food court in the amphitheater, children’s activities at various merchants throughout town, the ever popular scavenger hunt, a Swukestra performance, and even Olaf from Frozen will be walking through town handing out treats to the children. Horse-drawn carriage rides will run from 2:30 p.m. until 6 p.m.

To promote an inclusive atmosphere to celebrate with all of our neighbors, there will be events such as learning the dreidel game, a West African dance circle, and Kwanzaa celebration, among other events. And of course, Santa arrives at 6:45 p.m.

We need volunteers for the day’s events, morning and afternoon. A lot is planned — we will be able to offer a truly fun filled day if we can get enough folks to help for an hour or two.

Details on how to sign up for the Santa Run, carriage rides, and to volunteer are available through the Swarthmore Town Center website, posters in merchant windows and instructions in the Swarthmorean.

So c’mon out and run a bit in the morning to get ready for a memorable day and evening, celebrating the holidays with all of your neighbors.

John Leubecker
Swarthmore Town Center,  Board Member

Support Soccer for Success

To the Editor:

This fall I am collecting new and gently used soccer equipment for the William Trippley Foundation.

Will Trippley was a promising young soccer player who played soccer at The Shipley School and in college .While home visiting his mother in Chester, Will was accidentally killed by stray gunfire. Will’s mother, Patricia Trippley, and some of Will’s friends started The William Trippley Youth Development Foundation in his honor.

The Foundation sponsors an annual free camp for approximately 150 youth and also provides a soccer program known as Chester City United. Recently, Chester City United collaborated with Soccer For Success to form Chester-Upland Youth Soccer.

The Foundation is in need of soccer gear (cleats, shin guards, socks and shorts, but no balls). All donations will be used to provide young people in the program with the equipment they need to play soccer.

The Foundation is also appreciative of any monetary donations (checks should be made payable to WTYDF). More information is available about the Foundation at www.wtydf.com. If you have equipment you’d like to donate, please leave your gear on my porch from now until November 15.

If you would like to make a monetary donation, please put any checks in my mailbox. My address is: 116 Cornell Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081.

Thank you for your help and support.

Devon Maillet
SHHS Class of 2021

Agents of change?

To the Editor:

As we close in on November 7’s election, it was heart-warming for this voter to attend the October 25 candidate forum at Trinity Episcopal Church, hosted by Indivisible Swarthmore: Moving the Needle, and learn about local issues from well-spoken, well-informed candidates for office. The room was full of area residents who had thoughtful questions, which candidates eagerly answered.

Delaware County Council candidates Brian Zidek and Kevin Madden argued that a decades-long Republican monopoly on county governance has led to higher taxes and a “pay-to-play” culture of government contracts. Breaking down effective tax rates as a combination of county millage rate and taxable property value, Zidek and Madden outlined how—under even the most conservative estimates—a Delco resident pays 52% higher county property taxes than a Montco resident living in a home with the identical market value.

 Zidek and Madden stated that their priorities include increasing transparency of government operations, ensuring environmental safety of the Mariner East 2 pipeline, and directing financial investment in Chester to support local economic development by and for its residents. Taking advantage of existing state resources to minimize costs, they also hope to expand county services to include a public health department that would coordinate more effective interagency responses to challenges such as the worsening opioid crisis.

Kelly Eckel, candidate for the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, described her legal experience in neutral arbitration among her qualifications for a judicial position requiring impartial decision-making. She questioned her opponent’s ability to be similarly unbiased, given his long history of holding political office in the Republican Party.

Mary Walk and Joanne Phillips, candidates for Register of Wills and Controller respectively, explained the roles of their positions in managing documents essential for citizens’ daily lives and supervising financial affairs. Both experienced lawyers, they pledged their commitment to fair, accurate, and transparent service.

Candidate for Sheriff Jerry Sanders joined the other candidates in a passionate defense of women’s rights. Highlighting personal and professional experiences with promoting equality and women’s issues, Sanders spoke to the necessity of reaching out to all voters to ensure representation of diverse voices.

In addition to discussing county-level issues, the candidates urged a “no” vote on the statewide ballot question, which proposes a reduction in property taxes (currently used to fund education and emergency services) that is projected to lead to future increases in sales and income taxes.

 Delaware County lags behind Montgomery and Chester counties in key indicators of child welfare, with much higher rates of children in poverty, teen births, and school absenteeism due to illness. Montco and Chesco have county health departments that receive state grants under Act 315 to improve local health. Delco, without a health department, doesn’t qualify. Our children deserve better. Vote Democratic on November 7.

Fran Stier

Vote ‘no’ on referendum

To the Editor:

Before you vote November 7 go to vote411.org for the League of Women Voters nonpartisan voters’ guide to who and what will be on the ballot where you vote.

The “what” is a referendum on a proposed amendment to the PA constitution to end the universally hated property tax. It would authorize the PA legislature to enact legislation allowing local taxing authorities, like school districts, to exempt from taxation 100 percent of the assessed value of a property owner’s primary residence. Too good to be true? Yes.

If adopted, school districts could still raise taxes to retire existing debt, and local action is optional unless the legislature makes it mandatory on all school districts nationwide. More important, what will replace the income needed to operate public schools?

Our tax-averse state legislature cannot even agree on a plan to raise the recurring income needed to fund existing expenses — and with good reason. The state and local options are limited to sources like the flat income tax, the head tax, and the sales tax which, along with exemptions for pensions and Social Security, already make PA’s tax system one of the most regressive in the country.

Google the PA Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) to learn why eliminating the property tax would make the system even more regressive. Alternatively, PBPC’s Fair Share Tax Plan, by dividing the Personal Income Tax into a tax on wages and interest and a tax on wealth, would make the system more equitable, bringing in billions of new revenue while lowering taxes for many, without unduly burdening the wealthy.

Lora Lavin

Letters to the Editor

Unwavering on the waiver

To the Editor:

I am offering commentary on Pat Flanigan’s letter that outlined concerns over the Co-op seeking a waiver of the covenant geographically restricting alcohol sales. These are my thoughts as both a 20+ year Co-op member and as the co-founder of the Swarthmore 21 effort that successfully ended our borough’s “dry” status last May.

In a recent letter to the Co-op’s owner-members, it was clearly announced they are indeed pursuing the ability to sell alcohol. I view their current actions as due diligence through retaining an attorney with appropriate expertise. As an owner-member, I appreciate that level of planning and analysis.

Concerning any potential future license transfer, obtaining an alcohol license is through an application. As documented and explained in the months prior to Referendum, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) employs a number of review levels and opportunity for feedback prior to license issuance. The PLCB’s responsibility is to protect communities from undesirable businesses being established. That monitoring continues through biennial renewals.

Lastly, the call for public hearings is specious. The public has already spoken through the referendum vote in a 4:1 approval of alcohol sales (1,300 for; 300 against). You may also recall that many of the current Borough Council members, as well as candidates running for council, refused to take a stand on the referendum, wanting our citizens to decide. Clearly, Swarthmore emphatically made its decision known last May.

As we all know, the Co-op is a cornerstone of this community. It’s time that we take action to support the Co-op rather than creating obstacles for it.

I’m backing the Co-op. Are you?

Patrick Francher

Why not three parties in Delco?

To the Editor:

While Heather Saunders makes her case that we should consider electing a second party, i. e. Democrats, to Delaware County Council, she neglected to mention yet another party that is on the local ballot and their candidates. Edward Clifton is a Libertarian running for Delco County Council. Another Libertarian on the ballot is Matthew Wallace, running for Sheriff. For further information see delco4liberty.org.

Jules Mermelstein is a Green Party Candidate running for Judge of the Pa. Superior Court. For further information see gp.org. For information about the local Green Party, see delcogreenspa.org.

Heather mentions that we deserve a county government that “represents all the people in Delaware County” and that we should “end one party rule.” Shouldn’t this also apply to the Borough of Swarthmore, where we have also had one party rule?

Just asking.

Robert Small

Luminaria time!

To the Editor:

LUMINARIA 2018! Once again, it is time to place your order for the Luminaria fundraiser, beautifully lighting up our streets on the evening of New Year’s Day, 2018.

Order window is now open! This fundraising event has supported ABC Strath Haven’s operating budget for more than 15 years and will continue the tradition in the future. And now, through expansion into the rest of the WSSD community, the event will support more scholars in the school district.

The order window for the 2018 Luminaria fundraising event is November 1 through November 30. You can order online at luminaria.abcstrathhaven.org or by placing a paper order with your Block Captain. (If your BC has not already delivered paper order forms to your door he/she will be doing that very soon.)

Thank you as always for your generosity and here’s to a great holiday season and a 2018 in which we all encounter many reminders of how lucky we are to live in this community.

The Luminaria Committee
Anne Clauss, Chris Darrell, Oonie Lynch, Anne Papa,
Georgie Perullo, Jean Steinke and Julie Vrooman

Kindness at noon

To the Editor:

By pausing for less than five minutes each day, aligning our minds at noon, we can create a wave of kindness – Alternative Social Change – that neutralizes the plague of planetary violence, hatred and meanness. No matter your beliefs, your “tribe”, where you live, or whom you love or hate, all you need is a desire for kindness and the improved health and decreased stress that comes with it. There are no fees, training or memberships – you don’t even need to get out of bed!

1. Set your phone or computer on alert right before noon.
2. Pause whatever you’re doing.
3. Take a deep, slow breath, relaxing your head and neck.
4. Another breath into your armpits, letting your shoulders relax.
5. Now a breath into your belly, softening your back.
6. Then breathe slowly as you let your bottom relax.
7. A breath into your knees, releasing tension out through your feet.
8. Finally, just think a kind thought, joining billions of others seeking planetary peace.

Repeat this daily, at noon or whenever and wherever kindness is needed.

Judith Trustone

Letters to the Editor

Ramifications of covenant waiver

To the Editor:

The Swarthmore Co-op agrees that its property is subject to the Biddle tract covenant prohibiting the selling or distributing of alcoholic beverages. Recently the Co-op mailed a letter to more than 150 separate property owners subject to this same restrictive covenant, including Swarthmore College and borough-owned properties. The Co-op board has not voted to sell alcohol, yet the Co-op board has hired a lawyer and mailed an agreement for release of deed restrictions (“waiver”) to all the property owners within the 33+ acres restricted by Biddle’s covenant.

The waiver is not only for the benefit of the Co-op, but will benefit all future owners of the Co-op property. If these waivers are signed by the Biddle tract owners, then the Co-op will be allowed to sell alcohol and even to sell the property with this value-added benefit for future (unknown) owners on that tract.

Since the borough is owner of some of these Biddle tracts, perhaps there should be public meetings (with notice) before the borough signs the waivers. Should the borough sign, favoring one property owner in the business district, yet excluding other Biddle tract business owners? What consequences will there be when the Co-op business eventually closes and sells the land?

Meanwhile, the Co-op seeks this waiver, but its board has not yet voted on whether they want to sell alcohol.

Pat Flanigan

One party or two in Delco council?

To the Editor:

On November 7, we have the opportunity to vote for two of five County Council seats and a number of other important county positions. Now’s the time to reflect on what we want from our county government and make a plan to vote.

There has not been a single Democrat on Delaware County Council in over 40 years. Republican politicians have used county posts as stepping stones to state and federal office. The GOP faithful point to the fine character of individual elected officials and praise the efficiency of the one-party state that is Delco.

But is it really efficient? We’re taxed at a higher rate than our neighbors in Montgomery and Chester Counties, yet we have fewer county services to show for it (no health department, for example).

So where is all the money going? It’s not easy to find out. County Council meetings I’ve attended have consisted of one unanimous vote after another, with no discussion. Agendas, minutes and even video of County Council meetings are available with a click on the Montgomery and Chester County websites. In Delco, you must file a written Open Documents Request and wait more than a month for a response. Are our elected officials hiding something? The Democratic candidates for County Council, Brian Zidek and Kevin Madden, have built a convincing case that a GOP pay-to-play system funnels our tax money to contractors who, in turn, donate to Republican candidates’ campaigns. Rather than open the books to prove it isn’t true, the GOP has responded with personal attacks on the challengers and testimonials to the saintly character of their own incumbent.

The single most important fact about our county government is that it does not accurately and fairly represent the citizens who live here. This was demonstrated a year ago, when the local GOP threw its considerable weight behind the Republican presidential candidate. While he won Pennsylvania, Donald Trump lost Delaware County by a wide margin. (Hillary Clinton got more votes in Delco in 2016 than Barack Obama did in 2012.) That’s because Democrats now outnumber Republicans in the county, but also because many Delco Republicans broke with their leadership and voted against Trump. We deserve a county government that represents all the people of Delaware County — one that is transparent, efficient, responsive and accountable.

This Election Day, we can take a major step in that direction and end one-party rule here in Delco. Vote on November 7!

Heather Saunders

Ship ahoy!

To the Editor:

Since it was founded in 1843, the Seamen’s Church Institute has served the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of some 65,000 visiting seafarers on some 1,900 ships docking at terminals along the Delaware River.

Trinity Episcopal Church makes financial donations, but there is a simple way for you, as a community, to help!

The SCI prepares “ditty bags” for seafarers arriving from distant ports. These folks bring you bananas, cars, oil, clothes, pineapple, appliances, etc., from faraway places, yet often can’t leave the ship to shop for basic necessities. This is where ditty bags come in.

Ditty bags contain basic toiletries, small articles of clothing, etc., and are given to the seafarers on Christmas morning. Often, this may be the only gift they receive.

Just drop off donations in the bin in back of the church, on the corner of Chester Road and College Avenue during the month of October. Suggested items include: hat & scarf, work gloves and socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and comb, deodorant, mini sewing kit, pen and stationery.

SCI prefers that toiletries be full sized, not the smaller travel-sized ones. All items will be taken to SCI on November 2.

In December, SCI chaplains and volunteers will distribute the ditty bags to the merchant mariners who are at sea during the Christmas holidays. Share God’s love by sharing with these men and women!

If you would like more information about the Seamen’s Church Institute, please visit SCI’s website at sciphiladelphia.org.

Heather Koelle
Trinity Episcopal Church, Swarthmore

Mitten Tree Time

To the Editor:

Once again, The Swarthmore Public Library will be having its mitten tree.

Please bring new hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, baby blankets and clothing to the library before December 15.

If you prefer, monetary donations may also be taken to the library. These funds will be used to purchase more warm clothing for children and adults, and then brought to CityTeam Ministries in Chester as well.

Thank you for your kindness in helping to continue this wonderful tradition.

Questions? Please e-mail Jane at nyack448@aol.com. Thank you for your generosity. Sincerely,

Jane C. Sottile

Letters to the Editor

Gerrymandering in WSSD

To the Editor:

Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board candidates for Region 2, Damon Orsetti and Bob Kelly, came to the Nether Providence Elementary School’s PTO meeting on Wednesday, October 4, to introduce themselves. Both candidates are qualified to serve on the board and are upstanding members of the community.

As an NPE parent, I’d love to see someone whose children attend my kids’ home school to serve on the school board, so I’d love to cast a vote for Mr. Orsetti on November 7th. But I can’t. I am not eligible to vote in Region 2; my home is zoned Region 1. All of Ward 7-1 of Nether Providence is zoned separately from the majority of the population who attends NPE. This split has led to a gross inequity in the school’s representation on the Board.

NPE has not had representation on the school board in nearly a decade. Mr. Kelly contended that pointing this out “pits the schools against each other.” This glosses over the inequity that has resulted from these regional lines.

I hope that Mr. Orsetti will have the chance to give NPE parents and children a voice on the school board. I also hope that the unfair practice of splitting the NPE community’s votes across multiple regions will be reconsidered and eliminated.

If we are not voting for direct representation, why bother with the regions at all? Why not cast ballots for any and all vacancies? The current structure saddles potential representatives of the NPE area with the handicap that comes with gerrymandered voting lines. I understand that the lines were drawn according to population and without intent to disenfranchise NPE-area voters, but the impact cannot be argued. We need representation, and the current region categorization splits the votes. This cannot continue.

Jessica Stillman Lloyd
Nether Providence

‘People before politics’

To the Editor:

A few weeks ago, I received a magnet in the mail from a township commissioner candidate with the words, “People before politics.” Then I imagined what this might be like here in Delaware County.

Perhaps our county would get a health department, a health department! One that would be available to serve all of our residents. Or perhaps our county would join the rest of the counties in Pennsylvania that always have one member of the County Council from the minority party in the council. We don’t have this minority rule, and we have had one-party rule here in the county for decades, which has led to no transparency, to intimidation at the polls, and to an inefficient government that has not addressed the needs of its citizens.

Maybe if “people before politics” were enacted, we wouldn’t have the chairman of one of the Delaware County parties (also the secretary of his party in Pennsylvania, and an elector for Donald Trump) as a lawyer representing Sunoco in the battle between the Mariner East 2 Pipeline versus concerned Middletown community members. Perhaps protecting the residents from the possibility of hazardous liquids extremely close to their homes and schools, would be the priority, instead of a leader of one of the political parties going to bat for Sunoco.

In less than a month, on Tuesday, November 7, we will have the right to go to the polls and voice our opinions. And it matters. Here in Delaware County, it really matters.

Liz Corson

Businesses support CRC

To the Editor:

Our local businesses do so much to support our community! I would love to acknowledge the Inn at Swarthmore, Swarthmore Barbershop, Harvey Oak Mercantile, The Plant Hospital, Kandy Kids, Swarthmore Flower Shop, Hobbs, Blonde Sugar & Honey, Compendium Boutique, and Poco Loco for their generous support of the Chester Ridley Crum (CRC) Watershed Association Annual Silent Auction.

Your contributions of beautiful and useful goods, as well as gift certificates, will help CRC plant more trees along our waterways and engage more people in caring for our local natural resources. Another great reason to shop local!

Gwenn Prinbeck
CRC board member

Letters to the Editor

Life without the Co-op?

To the Editor:


Do we really want to live in Swarthmore without the Co-op? Close your eyes and think for a minute. Feel good?

I didn’t think so. I’d miss the Truckathons. And where else would I randomly run into so many of you?

What would you miss?

Did you catch the article from the Co-op Board President a couple of weeks ago? We are skating dangerously close to some very thin ice.

What can you do?

Shop Co-op First. Most people who shop at the Co-op frequent other stores as well. That’s cool. But make the Co-op your first stop more often. You’ll find great prices on some bulk staples, more than 143 local products, seasonal produce and enticing prepared foods, and a real, old-school butcher who cuts meat in-house.

Spend $3.84 a week more at the Co-op each week. Whether you use the Co-op as your convenience store, the destination for your school-age child’s bike ride, or as the main source of your weekly shopping, a critical mass of people spending just a few more dollars there each week will make a difference.

Become a member. One of the cool things about the Co-op is it’s not just a store. It’s a cooperative venture in which members literally own the enterprise. If you can, make a commitment and buy equity.

I don’t want to live in Swarthmore without the Co-op. Do you? Sincerely.

Helen Nadel
Former Board Member

Lost without the Co-op

To the Editor:

The Nextdoor Swarthmore bulletin board has had an ongoing discussion about the merits of the Swarthmore Co-op. Here is my two cents from that thread.

I do 90% of my grocery shopping at the Co-op. There are a few things that I get at Target, a few things that I have to go to Martindale for, and rare (twice a year?) trips to Acme for things I can’t get or it doesn’t make sense to buy at the Co-op, but I never bundle my grocery shopping into these trips.

The Co-op carries amazing diversity for its size. Different price points, commercial and local; name brand and health food. As others have mentioned, they do special orders. They take suggestions. Their customer service is beyond compare. I returned spoiled meat without a receipt, and they replaced it with an extra 25% weight.

Half the cash register staff knows my member number by heart. They have a member discount program that lets a member choose the day of the month to exercise the privilege. I can pre-pay a tab, and then just buy groceries on tab with no card or cash, just my member number and name. So I can walk to the Co-op with a canvas bag, and no purse, and walk back without a purse dangling and bumping into the groceries or adding weight to my shoulder. Even a house guest (visiting adult children) can pick up groceries on our dime by providing our member number and name.

They put out samples. They have vendors that setup tables to provide samples. They arrange food truck days. The Co-op is even a town square. I often run into people I know. Other contributors note that it supports recycling, food and clothing collections, collections for hurricane victims.

The Co-op does extensive surveys, and has committees and management teams working hard to meet the tough challenge of keeping the Co-op alive. The prepared foods are far superior to other sources.

If the Co-op were to close, I’d be lost. Lost.

Robin Schaufler