I honestly can say that my opinion of a person has never undergone the drastic changes in so few days as mine has of Ann Feldman. On Wednesday night December 1st I attended the Downingtown Borough Council Meeting. I was a bit miffed to begin with as I had reviewed the 2011 budget that was published after the last meeting and I was none too happy and none of the council members were my favorite people that night. But as I sat there and agenda items were brought up I was flabbergasted at the fact that for once Ann Feldman and I were in accord. Ms. Feldman brought up that the Borough Christmas party was not being held in the borough, but at a venue in East Caln and that council members should pay their own way. I almost fell out of my seat because I thought she was right on target. I was also a bit tired of other council members trying to hush her up when she had a very valid point. I left that particular meeting wanting to thump a few heads and surprisingly Ms. Feldman’s was not one of them. Alas though, here we are on Friday and Ms. Feldman, myself and several other residents are again at cross purposes.
Last night I again attended an informational session for the group IDEAL of which Cara DeStephano has spearheaded. I had heard some of the information before, but was enlightened in other areas as well. Intelligent questions abounded after the presentation; however there was one small irritant that appeared at the meeting. Ms. Feldman joined our little group last night. Now on the face of it that would not be a problem, unfortunately her tactics were a bit underhanded. Ms. Feldman did not join us until after the lights had been turned off and the presentation began, slinked in, pulled out a pad of paper, took copious notes and then slunk out again when the meeting was over. I do appreciate that she did not turn this meeting into a free for all and she did show a bit of decorum, but that was blasted all to heck and back this morning when I read Ms. Feldman’s Op Ed piece in the Daily Local.
In her writings Ms. Feldman states that the park “…has been a well-used 50 acre public park in Downingtown Borough for the past 30 years.” Ms. Feldman, I ask, you were you not listening when Ms. Peck stated that the lands west of the trail have been up for sale and development since 1999 when the DEP came out and did a report at the request of the EPA? I know that you were there, but were you listening? If you weren’t let me do the math for you…if any kind of development has been under consideration since 1999 that was 11 years ago which in turn means that the park has not been thought of , maintained nor used as a park for 30 years…see 30-11=19. Also the intent to remediate to site specific standards was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer 2/19/1999 and when the 30 day public period had ended no public comments were received.….where were you then Ms. Feldman?
Ms. Feldman also parses words on what is considered safe and what is not. It has been reported in each and every study that direct contact with the soil will result in contamination; yet it is safe? I am not sure how a park can be considered safe when you cannot venture off trails and have direct contact with the soil. Are we only supposed to walk in the park and not enjoy any other activities? What about our dogs who do have direct contact with the soil? I believe I need to find the dictionary that Ms. Feldman and FOKP are using so that I may glean some insight to what they consider “safe”.
Now for the biggest faux pas of them all. As I said in the beginning, Ms. Feldman brought up a very valid point that borough functions should be kept in the borough regardless of another boroughs support and help and that council members should be ready to pony up a few dollars to help defer costs especially in this economic climate. Then I read this morning in Ms. Feldman’s article that when the petitions that started this whole hullabaloo were circulated there were almost 1,000 signatures which would be impressive for anyone, except for one small thing 209 of them were obtained outside of the borough. Isn’t that a bit disingenuous to want to keep borough business and celebrations within the borough, yet when it helps your cause you go out of the borough to assert your agenda? It begs the question that if you were willing to go outside of Downingtown to garner support for FOKP and the legal wrangling that you have tied the council up in what lengths you would have gone to defeat Anthony Madiro in 2009.
It seems that Ms. Feldman and her group are only for the good of the borough when it suits their purposes, but when the NIMBY syndrome kicks in to heck with the borough and its residents and that my dear councilwoman is called duplicity.