FNA

FISHTOWNISTAN, PHILA — In lawsuit-related news this week, the Fishtown Neighbors Association appears to have gotten into a bit of an online blow-up with former board member Jordan Rushie, Esq.   Rushie is suing the FNA over alleged defamatory statements made by former FNA president Neil Brecher.

Today, Brecher through his lawyer requested the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to place a gag order on Rushie.  The reason: over at Fishtown.US–an online message board for Fishtowners–Rushie had started commenting publicly about the details of the case and posting copies of exhibits that he had filed in his defamation suit against the FNA, including statements made by Brecher.  This erupted in multi-day furor on the sleepy neighborhood message board and caused the administrator to ban the topic from the site.

The original post which was since banned pointed to this blog maintained by Rushie where he explains the reasoning behind the lawsuit against the civic association from his perspective.

A previous attempt to bring the lawsuit to settlement via mediation had collapsed according to court filings.  If no settlement agreement is reached the lawsuit is expected to end in a jury trial tentatively scheduled for the end of summer 2017.

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nitpicking

This is the nitpick of all ZBA nitpicks this year.

In the Olde Richmond neighborhood a homeowner has started a construction project to rebuild the back of her house [Olde Richmond is this place in between Fishtown and Port Richmond which some people call Port Richmond and other people call it Fishtown but it’s really Kensington but that makes some people upset so they call it 15 other different names].

Rebuilding a rear extension should seem a no-brainer.  As long as the new extension is nearly the same dimensions as the original extension, this should be an over-the-counter permit, right?

Well, nurp.

Capture

Read this carefully.  The City is sending this through zoning for 62 square feet.

There’s not a rear-setback variance.  The new extension is just a couple feet bigger than the prior one.  The homeowner’s replacement kitchen is going to consume TWO FEET (side to side) of additional space on PLANET EARTH.  Like, somehow this additional TWO FEET is going to put her immediate neighbors into eternal darnkess because it will block out the sun.

But it gets better.

There is going to be a full ZBA board hearing about these TWO FEET, and the applicant will be there with the taxpayer-funded board, along with a taxpayer-provided court reporter to capture the exciting public debate and commentary about TWO FEET.

Last week the Olde Richmond Civic Association distributed 300 flyers for this TWO FEET, costing it $60 in printing supplies and hours of volunteer time in order to notify residents.   And last Thursday the homeowner and her general contractor turned out to answer the loads of public commentary about this TWO FOOT bigger extension.

As you can expect, not a single human soul turned up.

But no matter, the Olde Richmond Civic Association debated amongst itself what to do with a TWO FOOT bigger home extension and came up with the following conclusion:

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Records Scam

I know our District Attorney, Rufus Seth Williams, is going to be fucked with a Federal prosecution any minute now, but that’s no excuse to let an economic crime continue to run in this town when it’s been well-publicized for months.

So I am going to write about this, AGAIN.

This letter appeared in the mail of a brand new Germantown home-owner.   I have received photos of the same letter from new homeowners in Kensington, Bella Vista and in West Philly.

The phone numbers on the letter do not start with (215) 686-, which is the prefix code of most City phone numbers, including the official recorder of deeds: the Philadelphia Records Department (that’s its actual title).

There IS no such thing as “Deeds and Registry Office”, the address that the letter points to in the Land Title Building only has one city office having anything to do with real estate directly, and that’s the Sheriff’s Office, and they have nothing to do with new homeowners.

This letter is a fraud and it is a scam and yet you have let this gone on for months, even after multiple people have brought it to your attention.  You just don’t know how to deal with an economic crime like this because you are incompetent.

I really hope this is the last time I have to write about this stupid letter.  No telling these scammers are bilking brand new Philly property owners out of their money.  They have to be making money because the letters keep coming.   And they will continue to go to homeowners until you fucking DO. SOMETHING. ABOUT. IT.

For the love of Christ and all that is Holy in his name… do your fucking job.  You are a law enforcement agency.  Enforce some fucking law for a change.

Holy crap you are the worst municipal law enforcement agency in this country.  A complete disgrace to the profession.

And I’m not even talking about cops, here.

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Laurentius+Panorama+1+HDR+WEB

Over at PlanPhilly is the low-down on a zoning meeting that exploded the other night.  It’s about St. Laurentius Church, which has been deactivated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Quick backstory: The Archdiocese claims that the brownstone church is structurally deficient and in danger of imminent collapse (I’ll save you the trouble: L&I doesn’t agree).   The Catholic Church wants to demo the church and sell the land off, considering how valuable Fishtown is.

So a developer finds that there is a profit to be made by turning St. Laurentius into apartments and can repair and retrofit the building.   Sounds good, right?

Nope.

There is another group that formed after St. Laurentius was nominated as historic by the City.   Their goal is to see absolutely nothing change with the building.  Any use other than “church” will make them upset.   The building itself is presently zoned RSA-5, as a single-family rowhome.

As you can probably guess the meeting erupted over parking, no surprise there.

And as you can also probably guess there’s a secret paper petition floating around to kill the project on the down-low.  The property stands inside Council President Darrel Clarke’s city council district.

By killing the apartments, can anyone else come up with $1,300,000 to do all the structural repairs and retrofit for a new use that will make money and will be a use that places zero demand to park in front of the building?   Even re-activating it as a church again will create parking pressure, especially if all the congregants aren’t Fishtowners.   And there’s not really a stampede of faith organizations that are in the market to take on giant historic albatross buildings.  The Mormons have money, but they already built themselves a temple on Vine Street.

Honestly I can’t think of any new uses that meet the ridiculous demands pressed by Fishtowners at the zoning meeting except to turn it into a vacant-abando that will sure make the building’s dubious structural integrity claims by the Archdiocese come true.

Then when the building does need to be turn down, it can be turned into a surface parking lot.

Shit… why stop there?   Let’s exhume all the graves at nearby Palmer Cemetery and make that a surface lot too.   Or perhaps be the first place in the USA to introduce GRAVESPACE—where you can park your family car on top of your former relatives.  Combine two uses for the living and the dead into one.

I swear, some Fishtowners are just dumber than a box of hair.

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Gov. Wolf and Bob Brady seem far more worried about the timing of an expected election than they are about ethics.

State Rep. Leslie Acosta who represents part of North Philadelphia is going to be convicted.  This much is certain.

What happens when a Harrisburg legislator is convicted while in office?  Well, they have to give that office up.  That creates a vacancy and forces a special election.

Except that in special election situations it is the official party who picks the endorsed replacement to fill a role, and timing is everything.

And the only reason why Gov. Wolf and Bob Brady, who runs the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee are so prompt to call Acosta to the carpet is timing.

If Leslie Acosta resigns right now, there’s enough time to fold the replacement into a special election that could be had during the upcoming U.S Presidential Election.  When her term expires, the temp filling the spot would be running for re-election.  If for whatever reason it takes ages to get her officially convicted–the act that would force her out of her state rep. seat against her will–then Acosta’s seat wouldn’t become available until next year when there’s few other exciting elections going on that local media could focus harder on the district in North Philadelphia.

This district has also had quite a legacy.   Current-Sheriff Jewell Williams occupied this seat and faced a sexual harassment complaint filed against him by a former staffer.

Another occupant was J.P. Miranda who was charged with corruption for having a ghost employee on his state office payroll.

And now we have Leslie Acosta who has now been connected to a Medicaid billing fruad scheme carried out by fellow Kensington ward leader Carlos Matos.

So… does it matter if she leaves now or next spring?  Not likely.   It’s not like she’s ever going to write groundbreaking legislation in Harrisburg, much less anyone else who has occupied the seat in the last 15+ years.

Oh, and not that this is significant or anything, but the district looks like a seated cartoon giraffe taking a dump.

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