September 5, 2013 – Derry Township Had to See HersheyPark South Coming

As I’ve summarized in my May 2 Blog “Downtown Hershey = Hersheypark South?” below, Dave Buffington, owner and chief soothsayer of The Sun, and Derry Township resident, has been predicting for years that: “Downtown Hershey, the center of Sun Country, is becoming Hersheypark South. Inevitably, any other downtown interests…will be bought out or forced out”

Today’s Sun reports that Hershey Trust’s perennial spokesperson Ken Gall recently offered the following peek into plans for the post office property: “That project may have two or three fast casuals in it.”

According to our neighbor and restaurant expert Phil Guarno’s repeated testimony to our elected leaders, ‘fast casual’ is simply codespeak for fast food. It is, literally and only, Mickey D’s without a drive-thru. Thanks to our newly passed ordinance, written by the corporate owner of the post office property – and a boatload of others downtown – fast food, is entirely legal.

Is this what We The People who live, play pay and pray in Hershey want? Ken Gall doesn’t live in Hershey, so he gets no vote. Although that is hard to remember, it is critical we do so. There is a municipal election coming up.

Two of the four balloted candidates for Derry Township Supervisor – my running mate Matt Weir and me – have foresworn corporate campaign funding. I can find no mention of who is funding our opponents. Derry voters must find out, prior to Nov 5, 2013.

With any number of historic, or at least familiar, sites under the ever-watchful eye of the development community, it is more important than ever that our elected leaders have no financial ties to said development community.

Following is a timely article to our current plans for downtown: we do NOT want to end up with what the linked story describes as “faux ‘main streets’ and brightly painted stores that appear to be independent entities.”

It won’t be foisted upon us suddenly, as I’ve explained above.

Now is the time to make downtown development work for ALL Derry residents. A vote for Matt Weir and Steve Todd is a vote to Put Residents First. We have no connection to land developers or corporate entities.

The Disneyfication of Downtown

A Reader’s guide to ‘Disneyfication’ :

Disneyfication of the World :

I have long been an outspoken critic of the inevitable wasting of taxpayer’s money and the real or perceived circumvention of the citizens’ laws, which benefits corporate entities. Those entities, flush with cash, can afford a coziness to our elected officials which few of us can.

My signed comments following PennLive’s July, 2013 Editorial, “Business as usual in Pennsylvania politics or pay-to-play-lite?,” in response to similar inefficiencies with our PA Turnpike dollars follow:

<i>”there is no indication the businesses are using the contributions to buy contracts they don’t deserve from the state. There’s no quid pro quo.

Seventy-five percent (of business executives) said it felt like a “pay-to-play” system. If they didn’t give money, they worried that their business would suffer.”</i>

Both lines quoted, from the same article. You can’t make this stuff up.

I have worked for several firms who regularly bid on public works, and just so happen to exercise their freedom of speech by giving to the campaigns of those making such appointments. Most donations come in while no campaign in underway or near, but after the official has been seated.

All charge way more than would be yielded by competitively bid projects on the no-bid, no peer oversight projects that are handed to them as a result of this charade. My own Derry Twp is now far over $1 Million dollars in engineering fees to such a firm for our storm water upgrades. Over $1M. Just engineering. We are less than 1/3 done with what is planned, as that same firm (coincidentally, if not conveniently for some) last presented to us. I have given up asking my Board of Supervisors to stop the hemorrhaging, as they have made it clear they have no intention of doing so.

End this waste of your taxpayer cash. Vote for candidates who won’t take bribery….err, donations from non-constituents, including incorporated entities. Or don’t, and don’t. Our choice.

Thank you,

~Steven Todd
Candidate for Derry Twp Supervisor

Long-time local political pundits frequently note this phenomenon as well:

“That’s not unusual in politics,” said Ed Uravic, a civically-active Derry resident and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology professor who has 20 years of experience working with state and federal GOP politicians. “…interest groups will readily contribute money to important politicians who have some control over their issues, even if they’re not naturally drawn to the politician through their constituents or ideology. It happens all the time.”

It is past time We The People take control of our Downtown, our PA Commonwealth and our nation.  Start here in Derry Twp, on November 5, 2013.


About steventodd

Both parties are broken by big money...what to do? I'm a dad, husband, son, taxpayer, voter, civil engineer, reporter, blogger, rabble-rouser and honest guy.
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