Chris Pastore

Upper Dublin, PA

The role of the internet

Posted September 14th, 2009 by admin | No Comments

As the election gets closer, it is interesting to see how the dynamic is slowly changing to make more use of the internet in getting the word out to the people.  I particularly like this because it is a more energy efficient means to communicate with the constituents.  Printing documents and handing them out, driving through neighborhoods, printing and posting signs all use materials and energy.  If it is possible to do this less we could have more environmentally sensitive campaign seasons.

I was pleased to see that my opponent, Ron Feldman, current Commissioner for Ward 6 has also developed a website to share what is happening in the Ward, which can be found at www.ronward6.com .

I hope that everyone comes out to the election in November!

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Town Hall meeting reflections

Posted September 4th, 2009 by admin | 1 Comment

I attended Dr. Dachowski’s town hall meeting on health care last night in Lower Moreland.  As a reminder, Damian Dachowski is running for US Congress in our 13th district against incumbent Allyson Scwhartz.

The room was full – the parking lot was overwhelmed – people were parking several  blocks away.  In general there appeared to be two groups of attendees:  the majority who wanted to hear what the panel had to say and participate in the discussion, and a small vocal group who simply wanted to shout down whatever was said.  I didn’t realize prior to this event that the topic of health care was so polarizing and that opinions would be held prior to discussion of issues.  There were about 4 people with signs for Schwartz in the back of the room, and maybe 3 in seats holding signs saying things like “public option now” or “health care for america now.”

On the one hand I was pleased to see that this would have the potential to generate conversation and discussion, but I was a bit taken aback that some seemed to anticipate that they would disagree with whatever was said in advance.

I don’t think this topic is about political affiliation, I think it is about what is the best more forward to help America meet its health care needs in a sensible, responsible, and appropriate manner.

One of the speakers spoke wisely when he said that this should not be about change for the sake of change – this should be about better. Surprisingly he received some negative noises from the sign wielding audience.  I thought it was a completely non-partisan statement that all would believe.

There were two principle themes that came up from the panel.  One is that loss of competition in the health service industry has the potential to decrease services.  The other is that the plan forward to protect the currently uninsured should be done thoughtfully and carefully.  As aspect to the second point is that the current bill has some aspects that are questionable.

Damian laid out his key points that he would like to see in regard to health cre improvement.  They are:

  • Create interstate competition among health insurance companies
  • Encourage health promotion and disease prevention
  • Modernize long-term care options
  • End tax discrimination against those not insured by employers
  • Protect those with pre-existing conditions
  • Increase state oversight of insurance company practices
  • Reform medical liability with regard to frivolous lawsuits
  • Treat mental health care equally with physical health care
  • Modernize medical recordkeeping for faster, more accurate treatment and fewer medical errors
  • Work to eliminate Medicare fraud
  • Give Medicaid recipients more health care options
  • Prepare for emergencies by developing and stockpiling medicines and vaccines
  • Offer tuition forgiveness to health care providers who offer years of service to under-served areas of the country

Damian is a health care professional – he is a dentist in his own practice, is on the staff at Holy Redeemer and works for the county.  He has a perspective on health care that exceeds my own as he is involved in these issues on a daily basis.

I didn’t see anything in his platform that would be offensive to anyone.  I didn’t understand the outbursts of “liar” and other rude comments from the few sign holders.  (I should temper this with the observation that the majority of the attendees were polite and respectful.  They seemed to truly want to hear the opinions of the speakers and questioners – it was only  a loud few that were disruptive.)

What I did see is a great deal of passion on the part of the attendees.  People care about this topic and want to see something done.

I guess there is a sense of urgency on the part of the attendees, which is understandable.  However I do think it is reaonsable to ensure that whatever is developed makes sense and doesn’t drive the country into deeper and deeper debt that only our great-grandchildren will be able to repay.

I look forward to hearing more as the discussion continues, but hope that people will attempt to behave in a civilized manner so that everyone’s voice can be heard without anger or preconceptions based on party affiliation.

Posted in category: Health care | Tags: ,

Healthcare Town Hall Meeting on September 3rd, 2009

Posted September 2nd, 2009 by admin | No Comments

Dr. Damian Dachowski is running for US Congress in the 13th District of Pennsylvania.  I’ve known Damian since high school.  We played in band together, continued to be friends and play music together ever since, and he is my dentist.  Damian is a thoughtful, sober, and competent man.  I fully support his run for office.

He is hosting a Town Hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday September 3rd at the Lower Moreland Community Center (2nd floor of the Huntingdon Valley Library – 625 Red Lion Road).  I encourage everyone to attend and participate.  The panel will consist of physicians and patients sharing their thoughts about the future of Health Care in the US.

I hope to see you there!

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Residential Information Bulletin: August 16, 2009

Posted August 16th, 2009 by admin | No Comments

Thank you, Upper Dublin Police Department and all the other departments that were involved in this investigation!

From Detective Whisler:

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and the Chiefs of Police for Abington Township, Hatboro Borough, Horsham Township, Lower Moreland Township, Upper Dublin, Lower Gywnedd and Upper Moreland Townships announce the arrest of THOMAS BEECH (DOB 10/16/84), JOSEPH QUIRK (DOB 03/19/86), MATTHEW NEALIS (DOB 7/31/86), MICHAEL PAUL (DOB 03/09/86), and DANIEL JOLLY (DOB 05/08/86) for Corrupt Organizations, Burglary and related charges for their part in a criminal enterprise responsible for 14 completed and 3 attempted daytime, residential burglaries between May 19, 2009 and August 6, 2009 along Route 63 (Welsh Road) in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  Almost all of the burglaries involved entry into the home through an unlocked door or window and little, if any, force.

Investigators in Abington Township, Hatboro Borough, Horsham Township, Lower Moreland Township, Upper Dublin and Upper Moreland Townships created a task force to address a significant number of daytime residential burglaries occurring along the Route 63 corridor of eastern Montgomery County.  The dates and addresses of the burglaries involved are as follows:  May 18, 2009 at 10 Mountain Ash Lane, Horsham Township; May 22, 2009 at 7 Mountain Ash Lane, Horsham Township; June 17, 2009 at 14 Mountain Ash Lane, Horsham Township; July 13, 2009 at 1202 Herbert Road, Abington Township; July 13, 2009 at 1441 Stockton Road, Abington Township; July 15, 2009 at 26 Rapp Run Road, Upper Dublin Township; July 15, 2009 at 1431 Dreshertown Road, Upper Dublin Township; July 16, 2009 at 1700 Holmes Road, Upper Dublin Township; July 16, 2009 at 1409 Dublin Road, Upper Dublin Township; July 21, 2009 at 1220 Welsh Road, Lower Moreland Township; July 23, 2009 at 2286 Deerpath Road, Lower Moreland Township; July 24, 2009 at 2666 Pine Road, Lower Moreland Township; July 24, 2009 at 2283 Deerpath Road, Lower Moreland Township; July 24, 2009 at 1789 Old Welsh Road, Abington Township; July 25, 2009 at 802 Welsh Road, Horsham Township; August 4, 2009 at 709 Tennis Avenue, Lower Gwynedd Township; August 6, 2009 at 1412 Dublin Road, Upper Dublin Township.

Investigators received vital information concerning an unfamiliar vehicle in the neighborhood on July 16, 2009 when 1409 Dublin Road, Upper Dublin Township was burglarized.  A neighbor and her adult children noticed a silver Nissan Maxima parked in front of the home and made a note of the vehicle description, registration plate, and photographed the vehicle and driver, a heavyset white male with a “chinstrap” beard.  When the neighbor learned of the burglary she contacted Det. Whisler of the Upper Dublin Township Police Department.

The task force began investigating the Nissan Maxima which was registered to a MICHAEL PAUL of 6 Red Maple Lane, Levittown, PA.  PAUL works for Village Thrift Stores, Inc. who is contracted by Purple Heart to collect donations.

Investigators began significant surveillance of PAUL, the Maxima, Village Thrift and in the “target area” in which homes had been burglarized.  This surveillance revealed PAUL would allow a heavyset white male with a “chinstrap” beard to use his vehicle regularly.  The male would pick PAUL’S car up at Village Thrift Stores, Inc.  This vehicle was spotted near several burglary locations during the course of the investigation.  This male was the same man photographed by the neighbors in Upper Dublin and was spotted at 3:59 P.M. driving the Maxima and entering the Dunkin Donuts in Horsham Township on July 24, 2009 by Upper Dublin surveillance officers.  A neighboring property in Horsham Township, 802 Welsh Road, was burglarized some time between 3:30 P.M. on July 24, 2009 and 4:30 P.M. July 25, 2009.  Detective Daniel Wade of the Upper Dublin Police Department obtained the video surveillance footage from the Dunkin Donuts and confirmed the male was the same heavyset white male with the “chinstrap” beard witnesses identified earlier.

Ultimately, by accessing PAUL’s MySpace page, the heavyset, white male with the “chinstrap” beard was identified as JOSEPH QUIRK.

On Thursday, August 06, 2009, Detective Bryan McCauley of the Upper Moreland Police Department and Detective Sergeant John Becker of the Hatboro Police Department were assisting with the investigation and conducting surveillance in Upper Dublin Township.  While in a residential neighborhood, the detectives observed an unoccupied, teal colored Chevrolet Cavalier which was registered to a female in Philadelphia.  Detectives also observed a white male walking up and down the street and back and forth across the street several times near the Cavalier while talking on a cell phone.  The male entered the Cavalier and began driving through the neighborhood stopping at several locations while continuing to talk on the cell phone.  At one point the driver made a u-turn and ultimately stopped at Dublin Road and Slayton Drive.  The detectives then observed a second male carrying a white bag running from the driveway area of a home on Dublin Road.  The male got into the passenger side of the Cavalier.    When the Cavalier began to drive away Detectives McCauley and Becker stopped the Cavalier.  The driver asked Det. McCauley why he was being stopped and Detective McCauley replied, “You know what this is about.”  The driver then blurted out, “I just get paid to drive him around.”  Investigators learned that 1412 Dublin Road had just been burglarized.  Both men were taken into custody.  The driver was subsequently identified as MATTHEW NEALIS and the other male was identified at THOMAS BEECH.

Investigators interviewed BEECH and NEALIS and learned that BEECH was involved in all the burglaries in question.  Typically, QUIRK would drive him to the target home in PAUL’s car which QUIRK rented for the purpose of committing the burglaries.  On two occasions, DANIEL JOLLY drove BEECH to the burglaries and on three occasions NEALIS drove BEECH to the locations.

Investigators also interviewed PAUL who admitted to receiving payment to allow QUIRK to use his car to drive BEECH to commit burglaries.  PAUL also admitted to assisting with the taking the stolen items to pawn shops in exchange for additional cash.

QUIRK also gave a written statement to investigators detailing his involvement in the burglaries and explaining how he made arrangements to “rent” PAUL’s Maxima for the purpose of driving BEECH to commit burglaries and receiving cash in exchange for driving.

Police have recovered a significant amount of jewelry, cameras, a starter pistol, a pellet gun, a television, computers and 2 of three (3) firearms stolen during the burglaries through the execution of a search warrant and a consent search of QUIRK’S home.
Assistant District Attorney Todd Stephens will prosecute the case.

Flood response

Posted August 4th, 2009 by admin | No Comments

On Sunday we had quite a storm and streets were flooded out in Upper Dublin.  Dr. Paston posted some excellent pictures on facebook.

What impressed me the most was the quick response of the township to clear drains, close streets, and get things back to normal in a very short time. Well done!

It also makes me think about the Office Park and what the future will bring there.  The discussion about the FEMA flood maps being incorrect (out dated, not having full information of the geographical and man-made details) sounds more and more likely.

Temple University Ambler campus did an excellent study of the Park and the implications for storm water management and traffic flow, which you can find through this link: Ft. Washington Study .

Yes, I was involved in the study, but Prof. Featherstone and his group at Temple did the lion’s share of the work.  And they did an excellent job of evaluating the current situation and considering opportunities for the future.

Residential Information Bulletins: July 16 and 17, 2009

Posted July 17th, 2009 by admin | No Comments

1.  On Wednesday, July 16, 2009, the Upper Dublin Police responded to the unit block of Rapp Run Road for a completed burglary. The residents reported that the burglary possibly occurred between 12:20 hours and 15:30 hours. Entry was gained through an unsecured side door or a doggie style door. Taken from the residence was a large amount of jewelry and a laptop computer.

2. At 18:18 hours, a homeowner in the 1400 block of Dreshertown Road, reported the discovery of a completed burglary. Entry was made through a second floor window. The actor(s) utilized a ladder that the victim stored on his property to gain entry. Stolen from the residence was jewelry and credit cards. The resident believes that the burglary occurred between 1100 hrs and 1800 hrs.

3. A resident of the 1800 block of Dillon Road, Maple Glen, Pa. reported to the Upper Dublin Police a suspicious incident that occurred on July 16, 2009, at approximately 10:00hrs. The resident stated that her husband was home all day yesterday and heard the front door bell ringing. When he answered the front door there was no one there. The back door bell then began to ring but when he checked there was no one there. As he sat in the family room downstairs he observed a teenage white male, thin, medium height, brown hair wearing a green Eagles Jersey (unknown number) looking in the rear patio windows where he was sitting. The white male disappeared shortly there after. The resident stated there was a small silver car parked out front of the residence occupied by a second while male, who stayed seated in the driver’s seat. The vehicle left at the same time the prowler disappeared.

4. At 18:26 hours, a homeowner in the 1400 block of Dublin Road, reported the discovery of a completed burglary. Entry was made through a rear, open, first floor window. Stolen from the residence was jewelry, 2 handguns, a laptop computer and a pillowcase from a bedroom pillow. The resident believes that the burglary occurred between 16:15 hrs and 18:15 hrs.

5. At 18:50 hours, the homeowner in the 1700 block of Holmes Road, reported the discovery of a completed burglary. Entry was made through a closed, rear, first floor window. The window was pried open and entry was gained. The actors stole jewelry and two lap top computers. The resident stated that the burglary occurred between 17:50 hours and 18:50 hours.

Residential Information Bulletin – July 8, 2009

Posted July 8th, 2009 by admin | No Comments

We’ve received two residential information bulletins from the Upper Dublin Police Department this week.  They are presented below.


Paving Scams

Each year in the spring, summer and early fall, groups of Gypsy Paving Contractors converge on the east coast including Montgomery County including Upper Dublin Township.

These Gypsies approach senior and elderly resident’s homes claiming to be working in the area and noticing that their driveway needs paving or seal coating. They claim to have left over material in their truck and are willing to do the job immediately. The approach is high pressure, intimidating and in a lot of cases the older person feels scared by the Gypsy’s presence. The details and price of the proposed work is very vague but the resident in most cases agrees to have the work done.
The work is substandard, is completed in a short period of time and the Gypsy then requests to be paid a large sum of money in cash. The Gypsy manages to make their way into the home, while the older person either goes to get the cash from an envelope they may have hidden in the home or prepares to go to their bank with the Gypsy to withdraw cash. The Gypsy entering into the home can possibly lead to a burglary being committed.

Please report any suspicious contacts with paving contractors.


Recent Burglary Activity

Since July 1st, 2009 there have been four reported residential Burglaries in Upper Dublin Township. These Burglaries have occurred on Susquehanna Road in the Ambler section, Camphill Road in the Fort Washington section, Twining Road in the Oreland section and Limekiln Pike in the Maple Glen section of the township.
All four burglaries appear to be similar, with the actor(s) making entry or first trying to make entry by forcing the front door, severely damaging the door and frame. In one Burglary the front entry failed, resulting in the actor(s) smashing out the glass in the rear kitchen door.

All of the residences were unoccupied at the time of the Burglary. In some cases the residents were away for extended periods of time.

Once inside the residence the actor(s) ransack drawers throughout the house taking jewelry, cash, prescription medications and pillow cases, which were used to carry the stolen items.

Residents are urged to report any suspicious activity, persons, vehicles and loud noises or bangs (from the doors being forced open) to police immediately.

Residents can also contact Upper Dublin Township Police (215) 646-2100 to request vacation checks of their home while on vacation.

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Community Visioning

Posted July 6th, 2009 by admin | No Comments

The Township is seeking input from our community to help develop a master plan.  We have an opportunity to share our opinions through a survey developed by the planners.  There were over 150 citizens at the “live” survey, and now everyone is able to add their voice through a web based survey.  The Upper Dublin website provides links to the survey as well as the document presented at the live meeting.

Without your contribution, the planners can’t know your feelings on the issues being discussed. Whether you agree or disagree with what is happening in your township, if you don’t share your feelings in an organized fashion, your voice will not be heard.  And that would be a loss for all of us.

Posted in category: Upper Dublin | Tags:

Clarification and Correction

Posted July 3rd, 2009 by admin | No Comments

My previous post about the school taxes generated a response from the School Board and Dr. Pladus.  I had a very pleasant and productive email exchange with Dr. Pladus, and consequently I want to clarify and correct any misconceptions in the previous post.

First, my post was not intended to criticize the School District.  My intention was to express my concern about school taxes exceeding the level originally proposed. As an educator myself, I appreciate the challenges that schools face and I believe Upper Dublin is doing a fine job in educating our youth.

Second, I posted my concern that there was some deceptive calculation going on behind the scenes.  Particularly I mentioned the original information talking about a “typical $400,000 home” and then later talking about a “typical $350,000 home.”  I thought this was alluding to a hidden 12.5% increase by changing the baseline.  I was wrong.

Because of the way our taxes work, we are taxed on the assessed value of our homes, not the market rate.  And, because of the drop in the real estate market, the value of our homes has decreaed in the two years between the presented statements.  In both cases the calculations were based upon a home assessed at approximately $190,000.  This makes sense because taxes are based on assessment.  However, to make it more reader friendly, the information was presented in terms of market value, not assessed value.

Dr. Pladus told me (and gave me permission to quote him)

The overall tax impact for the new high school when it is completed is still expected to be 15.69% as was originally projected.

This number is in accord with the original $601 for a typical $400K home.

I am grateful to Dr. Pladus for spending the time to discuss this issue with me and clarify my error.

I also want to commend him for his cordiality and timely response.  Thank you Michael!

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School Taxes

Posted June 26th, 2009 by admin | No Comments

When the new high school building was under discussion we were told that we should expect a school tax increase.  This was advertised as a $601 (for a typical $400,000 home) spread out over 5 years.  (See UD CAUSE for details)  I think most of us believed this to mean something like $120 increase per year for 5 years for that typical  home.

Just recently the school board brought their tax increase proposal forward  asking for a 7.9% increase for this year.  That is equivalent to $365 for a typical $400K home.

It turns out that that we won’t be be burdened with the whole increase this year, but rather in future years.  What happened is that Michael Pladus missed the deadline to request a exception to the state cap. The state of PA only allows 4.1% increase unless application for an exception is made and approved.  By missing the deadline we are spared a 3.8% increase, although we can expect this to be added to the bill next year.

To help confuse the citizens, the reporting on the new tax rates are based upon a $350K home instead of the $400K home that was originally discussed.  By doing that, it makes the tax increase look smaller.  They talk about a $319 tax increase for the $350K home, but that is equivalent to a $365 increase on the $400K home that was originally discussed.

So because of the mishap in filing, we will only see a $204 tax increase on a typical $400K home this year, but we can expect another tax increase of at least $365 or more next year.  That hits the $600 mark a few years early.

I’m skeptical that they will stop increasing the school taxes when it his $601 as promised.

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