Sunday, November 2, 2008

LETTER AND RESPONSE: Why not do a real streetcar poll with response?

I have been following your street car discussions and have just read with interest your article on the survey and its bias. Why don’t you do your own survey. This could be either online, door to door, or mail-in.

I think the results would be very interesting if the people of the county actually got a say in what is going on around town.

Publisher's response: Please excuse my allowing pent up anger and bitter disappointment to spill over in my reply below.

I arranged for a reputable national public opinion firm in cooperation with Fox 43 to do a random survey concerning whether the County should guarantee the convention center debt. 78% of those with an opinion opposed the county guarantee.

I also funded two-thirds of the cost of the PKF Feasibility Study on the convention center ordered by the County. It predicted huge losses.

On both occasions, the Lancaster Newspapers either ignored, spun, and published the least possible of what the public needed to know. The Convention Center Authority, dominated by Penn Square Partners and Ted Darcus, scorned the only real feasibility study ever prepared for the project!

I think things have improved with the newspapers now, but, with a single exception yet to be told, I am growing wary of wasting money on Lancaster that can be used elsewhere to better serve humanity

Just last week the Board of the Lancaster Public Library, despite having spent over half of a million dollars, turned down a million dollars in State and matching grants rather than undertake a fund raising campaign for a modest amount ($1,200,000.) Ridden with envy, ignorance about fund raising, timid, petty, and especially lacking a sense of mission, certain board members killed the opportunity to totally renovate the existing aging facility and the probability of soon thereafter expanding it.

I invited prominent representatives of the very communities that the library most serves to attend and speak up for the project. They did not. Why they betrayed themselves is beyond me, but it seems symptomatic of this internecine community.

This almost inconceivable set back weighs heavily on me and on my wife, who as a result stepped aside as the Public Library president. We are in mourning.

I pioneered the desegregation of Lancaster Township in the early 1970s. I co-founded and long funded Project Forward Leap which has made a huge positive difference in the lives of at over two thousand inner city youngsters (, many from Lancaster. I have made possible an important public health program that has saved the lives of scores of Lancasterians and saved hundreds if not a thousand from grief. I have lobbied on the state and federal levels for public health and criminal justice reforms with some success. Decades ago I contributed half the cost of the first local women's shelter. But at this point I am leery of investing more time and effort in this community beyond NewsLanc.

Nevertheless, I will continue to work behind the scenes to encourage and guide those who desire to and can make a difference. And so long as I remain, NewsLanc will stand up to the powerful, the greedy and the fools.

The Lone Ranger rides again!