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Public Discourse vs Gag Rule, Ridley Park's Comprehensive Plan and Sellers Avenue Bridge

RP Borough Comprehensive Plan Revision and Sellers Avenue Bridge Update - Public Discourse vs Gag Rule.  

At the February Council meeting President Berger once again resorted to Gag Rule tactics to silence public comment.  Since Mr. Berger had in self-defense previously declared preposterous the mere suggestion that he would apply a gag rule during a public meeting, one might readily conclude the actions of Mr. Berger himself to be preposterous.  So be it.


What might have come to public light—had it been allowed to—at the February meeting of Council is important NEWS regarding the Sellers Avenue bridge replacement project. 


Under the heading “Bridges” on page 34, the RP Comprehensive Plan 2014 Draft states:  “A design exception was awarded for the required minimum height of this structure so that this is no longer a concern.  The bridge will be replaced with no loss of parking or trees.” 

And “…current bridge creates sight distance issues…as well as a hazardous issue for pedestrians trying to cross Sellers Avenue. The new bridge will address these sight distance issues.”



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Comment by tim devabey on February 28, 2014 at 5:17pm


The Billboard is another matter.  From what we gather after the fact, an agreement was signed about two years prior to the November election.  During that period, did you hear a peep about whatever Billboard deal was being negotiated?  Does anyone believe we had "the best deal possible" negotiated "on our behalf?"  Then as I recall, the Billboard was forced into place in violation, I submit, of at least a couple or few Codes.  Then for several months the nearby residents and the Townspeople who did come forth in search of a remedy for grievances got nowhere.  Then we were advised by the BM on "advice of Counsel" not to comment.  A self-imposed gag order was the request made to Councilors and interested parties—which was then ignored when the BM herself commented to the newspaper.  Fact finding and open mindedness, truth-seeking as well as truth-telling, I suggest are the most vital "rules" of government.  Regarding your comment about the Budget meeting, as I mentioned in a previous posting, we were invited to the budget meeting to be presented with a choice of services.  It didn't go down quite that way—possibly someone was caught off guard by the Townspeople actually showing up to call a bluff... what do you think?

Comment by Howard McCoy on February 28, 2014 at 4:18pm

@Tim. The details for these things are worked out for us by the people who were elected and I can understand why there are truncating conversations - otherwise an open public forum would be needed, and more community consensus. Apparently that's all been done in behind closed doors and executive sessions (on our behalf) and we the citizens are blessed with the final report and not the messy matter of arriving at the final decision. Oh, thank goodness we have such strong community-minded leaders whom we can depend on to make the best decisions for the uninformed...why else do you think I pay taxes...I'm paying for the best my money can afford.

This sounds like you're reporting the same as what happened at the budget meeting - remember that?  The Borough Manager said to the community on TV during the Council meeting that they should attend the budget meeting and ask questions and learn what would be reduced.  I understand from your reporting on that issue that there was not much communication, questioning or discussion with the public.

Such is our governments usual position when it comes to discourse and community comments. I'm not talking about the trash committee of some another committee in particular. I'm talking about the overall governance and policy practices of Ridley Park....buying lawn cutting equipment included. 

Am I wrong about that with relationship to the Billboard?  If you recall there were public notices published and no one showed for comment so the problem must with the residents inability to handle these matters - thank goodness we have..............

Comment by Kenneth Harper on February 28, 2014 at 1:38pm

Thanks Tim for bringing transparency about the Sellers Avenue Bridge, can't wait to see the photo of my late uncle's hardware store in the RP borough Comprehensive plan revision.

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