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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Women’s March

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

by Daniel Brouse
Photo and video credits: Nikka Mae, Vanessa Sundra, Melody Long McWherter, Kara Barber, Elissa Sklaroff, Rick Reinhart and Alan Fenstermaker

Grandmother's Photo of Daughter and Grand Daughter / Elissa Sklaroff, Sara Sklaroff -Carey, Edie Carey

Grandmother’s Photo of Daughter and Grand Daughter / Elissa Sklaroff, Sara Sklaroff -Carey, Edie Carey

On January 22, 2017, a movement known as the Women’s March On Washington turned into a global protest of historical proportions.

1) The Women’s March on Washington was the largest global protest against the inauguration of a ruler in world history.
2) The Women’s March was inclusive of all people that felt compelled to protest and insist we “leave the world a better place.”

What could cause a massive movement like this? It was striking how many multi-generation protesters had boots on the ground. Not only did mothers-daughters march, but many grandmothers-daughters-grandaughters marched. Why? The resounding response — “our children’s children! We want to leave the world a better place.”

As it turns out, mother’s instincts about Donald Trump were correct. Within days of being elected, The Donald dictated actions that will harm more children than any President in history.

Things that kill and maim kids: the Dakota Pipeline, repealing the Affordable Care Act, withdrawing from TPP, withdrawing from the Paris Treaty, refusing children refugees from countries we bombed, de-funding International Planned Parenthood… every executive order the President has signed. In addition, censoring the Department of the Interior, USDA and the EPA, etc.

Boys, perhaps it’s time we listen to what our mother tells us?

Nikka Mae / Washington DC

Vanessa Sundra / NYC

Melody Long McWherter / Philadelphia

Kara Barber / Philadelphia

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West Chester Street Performance Ordincance

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

by Daniel Brouse

WEST CHESTER, PA — A second public hearing for a proposed ordinance to regulate street performers was held on September 21 at Borough Hall. Due to the time length of the meeting, a third public hearing has been scheduled for October 18 at 6PM.

The ordinance would regulate “the following activities: acting, singing, playing musical instruments, pantomime, juggling, magic, dancing, reading aloud, puppetry and reciting.”

Borough council members spent an hour-and-a-half suggesting changes. One of the most significant changes was to the Purpose of the ordinance, changing “the Borough Council therefore seeks to encourage such performances” to “the Borough Council therefore seeks to regulate such performances”. Council members Michael Galey and William J. Scott brought up concerns over unnecessary regulations, redundant regulations and over-reaching regulations. Quite a bit of discussion revolved around applying the regulation to private property. Surprisingly, there was no discussion about how this law would be applied to minors. At the previous hearing, a resident was voiced concerns, “If I’m playing a guitar and children start to dance, are they in violation.”

Eventually, comments by the public were heard. The overwhelming majority of the comments were against any attempts to regulate free speech.

The West Chester Business Improvement District (BID) executive director, Malcolm Johnstone stated his support for the ordinance. Only one business came out in favor of the ordinance. The owner of Penn’s Table Restaurant complained that the artists blocked the public right-of-way.

Comments against the ordinance came from a wide array of artists, performers and fans. Tom Wagner, Esquire, stated his opposition to the ordinance based on The First Amendment. Virginia Schawacker, director of Shaw Strings, voiced her concerns about regulating musical performances especially when on private property. Tony Webb has an architectural firm on Church Street and talked about his support for the music. A variety of musicians and students from West Chester University spoke out against the ordinance. Brad Rau, who holds a masters degree in classical guitar and teaches in West Chester, created a petition in support of the arts. The petition with hundreds of unsolicited signatures of citizens against regulating the arts was presented.

The discussion will continue in October.

West Chester Attempts to Regulate Free Speech

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

by C. Moore

WEST CHESTER, PA — At the second public hearing for a proposed ordinance to regulate street performers, the problems with creating a law that violates the Constitution of the United States became increasingly apparent. In fact, the ordinance is so problematic that a third public hearing has been scheduled for October 18 at 6PM.

Police Chief Scott Bohn and Mayor Carolyn Comitta

Police Chief Scott Bohn and Mayor Carolyn Comitta

At the request of the Borough, Police Chief Scott Bohn tried to explain why the ordinance would help the police. Part of the reason they are trying to pass this ordinance is because Mayor Comitta and Police Chief Bohn are already embroiled in allegations of hate crimes and civil rights violations against street performers. Two musicians have been assaulted by West Chester Police officers and wrongfully arrested. Dozens of citizens have been wrongfully cited. The proposed ordinance would attempt to legalize criminal activities committed by the Borough Police.

Borough council members held a slugfest for the next two hours suggesting a multitude of changes. Ironically, one of the most significant changes was to the Purpose of the ordinance, changing “the Borough Council therefore seeks to encourage such performances” to “the Borough Council therefore seeks to regulate such performances”.

Eventually, comments by the public were heard. The overwhelming majority of the comments were against any attempts to regulate free speech; however, a couple of music haters did voice their opinion.

The West Chester Business Improvement District (BID) executive director, Malcolm Johnstone has been accused of committing hate crimes and civil rights violations; nevertheless, he stated his support for the ordinance.

Residents Boycott Penn's Tavern

Residents Boycott Penn’s Tavern

Only one business came out in favor of the ordinance. The owner of Penn’s Table Restaurant complained that the artists blocked the public right-of-way. The audience found this quite hypocritical since Penn’s Table Restaurant’s customer seating on the sidewalk impedes the public thoroughfare on a daily basis.

Comments against the ordinance came from a wide array of artists, performers and fans. A songwriter and arranger (who has written hundreds of songs at the corner of Gay and Church Streets) voiced his concern about police mistakenly accusing him of performing. He then presented pages of unsolicited signatures from individuals opposed to regulating the arts.

After the meeting the resident stated, “If you want to see me perform, I get on stage and you have to buy a ticket. ‘Street Performance’ is an oxymoron.”