Saturday, August 29, 2015

Aftermath: Fishtown Zoning Part IV

A Fall from Grace requires a good Parachute

This is how my friend responded at first. "I read your post and can see why people hate you." "I read the discussion and you all sounded like a bunch of dicks." (To be continued.)
I realized that I failed in not fulling explaining how I came about to write my blog post when doing so: Fishtown Zoning Meetings: Part IV
It's not good to fill in the gaps or in this case gaffe during the discussion. It wouldn't surprise me if someone responds to say it was a "gaff."

It's never the less than true that I was drawn into a concern by neighbors that something just didn't seem right regarding the public posted zoning notice signs. None of us completely understood the full procedural purpose which led to some serious questions. I decided to raise these questions and public concerns on my blog in a public forum and was met with an overwhelming negative response and spin:

I admit, in retrospect, my post was awkward. I also admit that I'm still learning and also keenly aware that many others are also learning as we go. This lack of knowledge shaped my approach but it did not exclude the benefit of the doubt. I was clearly aware to include passage for such benefits of doubt like "if it actually exit", "or something that so happened" and question marks.
That wasn't good and reasonable enough and totally ignored. It got twisted into an attack on the character and motive of the representing lawyer, Leo Mulhvihill Esq. (aka Leo).  My responses most often tends to be humorous wit but this twisted attack now on my character was met head on in no uncertain terms. Thus a battle of words ensued and escalated. This resulted in a site moderator having the final word and  not allowing any further postings. (re-read the first paragraph)

(Back to my friend) My friend phoned me the next day with a different point of view. He read every last word in my blog and the responses that followed. He saw that my writing was provocative but it bothered him that people went crazy over question marks. He even saw that there was passage for the benefit of the doubt. His question to me was "Why are these people so angry and don't want people to learn about zoning?" Why, as I saw it, do question marks make some people run for cover?

There was some hope that this matter reached its conclusion:

I was wrong to think that because this is what came next:  It, at first, made me wonder why Chris Swayer (aka Kenzo) who's a city government candidate running for the office of Sheriff would do this. Why continue or re-escalation the previous battle? It specifically was an effort, as I see it, to re-frame or twist the quest for public discussion and hopefully learning: dissuade public discussion to private. I'll admit that there is some merit to this. (different previous private attempts were non-responsive as illustrated later in this post) This time my responses were formed in humorous wit. I suppose, that in the end, it's better to take Chris Swayer's provocative post as a form of humor and just say touche'.  

The most provocative and unwarranted action continued into the Community Zoning meeting by Matt Karp (aka Karp) who heads the Fishtown Zoning Committee. I had stated during the meeting my disappointment, in the form of a question, that the Fishtown Neighbor's Association Zoning Committee omitted two (2) of the three (3) variances being requested. These omissions appeared on the Internet and in a community newspaper. (The next day I found that the public notice distributed to neighbors who live with in the project's 200 feet radius had totally omitted all three (3) variances: Variance: unknown. The omission of these variances could make the zoning request more attractive to the immediate public than what it appears to be.)
Matt Karp blew off my question with carefree ease. There's no other way to say it. He later asked in the presences of all in attendance why do I continue to attack the zoning committee. My response was a sharp rebuke and reminder that I have been privately discussing a much greater if not alarming issue with them.
I'll cut Matt some slack here: benefit of the doubt. The private issue was first raised and continuously ignored (non-responsive) by a trusted board member for over a year. That's how long I kept this matter private.

I found the following statement by Leo Mulhvihill Esq. (aka Leo) on 2015-08-12, 12:49 PM very appropriate: " I resigned from ORCA (Olde Richmond Civic Association) zoning years ago because there were too many conflicts (e.g. My clients having projects in the area) for me to continue administering the board without the appearance of impropriety."

Here comes the rub. I personally praised Leo for publicly announcing at the Fishtown community zoning meeting on Tuesday, June 16. 2015 that he cut all ties to the Fishtown Neighbors Association: July 5, 2015: "At the last zoning meeting, in your own way, made it clear that your character is beyond reproach." "Removing yourself from the FNA (Fishtown Neighbors Association) was the right thing to do." "I respect you for doing the honorable thing and not courting controversy."

I'm hopeful that all important matters are resolved with unmistakable clarity that is void of any "Do the Hokey Pokey" legalese that could foster or allow circumvention of the intent and spirit of legislation. I'm also hopeful that floating concerns of possible cronyism quickly dissipate.
I'd rather get back to doing photo essays than this.

opinion pov by roman blazic_all rights reserved 

Monday, August 24, 2015

By The Numbers

I Might Turn Back

Close the door that fools rush in
Pack my bags gonna follow the wind
I'm going home
Maybe see you again

I took your love, returned it strong
If that's not love where does love belong
I'm going home
Maybe see you again

But the wind keeps blowing to my back
200 miles 'cross a dusty map
I gave you love, no I won't take it back
And the sun still shines in the pouring rain
It cools my brow so I can't complain
And if I had your love
I might turn back

Sometime somewhere only love stands to bear
deep in a prayer to the heavens high to make things clearer
So goes the heart keeping us worlds apart
And if I had your love
I might turn back

But the wind keeps blowing to my back
200 miles 'cross a dusty map
I gave you love, no I won't take it back
And the sun still shines in the pouring rain
It cools my brow so I can't complain
And if I had your love
I might turn back

photo, words and music by roman blazic_all rights reserved

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fishtown Zoning Meetings: Part IV

Loophole or Conflict

(Instructions: right click picture to open in new window if difficult to read)

Can you imagine lawyer Wardolf T. Flywheel (Groucho Marx) and his assistant Emmanuel Ravelli (Chico Marx) discussing loopholes?  Maybe you can also envision W.C. Fields just uttering the word "loophole."

Is there a loophole that the lawyer found or created to favor his client? How well does such a loophole, if it actually exist, serve the larger Fishtown community? Here's my opinion to explain my point of view.
Fishtown opposed a zoning proposal for 439 Belgrade St by a vote of 21 Yes and 38 No. Here is a factual required posted notice: Exhibit A.

The opposition was based on the client seeking Zoning Variances: Multi-family is not allowed, off-street parking is not allowed. This, as mentioned above, was opposed. Exhibit B voting results.

The lawyer previously had followed procedure by correctly filing for an a Zoning Appeal that resulted in a Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing on June 10, 2015. The Hearing Decisions History shows that there was a Decision: Continued. Exhibit C Decision History.

Here's where it get very interesting.
The lawyer, representing the client, scheduled a Community Zoning Meeting on August 18, 2015 to present a revised proposal for 439 Belgrade St: Revised proposal for a single family home with off-street parking. Variances: Accessory parking not allowed in RSA-5 zoning district. Exhibit D community notice.

Now carefully read this part.
The lawyer has posted on the 439 Belgrade St property the following notice dated July 30, 2015: Zoning Hearing Rescheduled on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at 4:00 PM.

It reads as  follows: Leo Mulvihill, Jr. Esquire has applied to the ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT for consideration of permit for the lot adjustment to create two (2) lots (Lot "A" and Lot "B") OPA accounts (437 Belgrade St and 439 Belgrade St) as follows:
Lot "A": Existing single family household living
Lot "B": For the erection of an attached structure (NTE 38 FT high) with roof deck accessed by pilot house; bat windows at 2nd and 3rd floors for a two (2) family household living with two (2) off street parking spaces accessed from side street at rear size and location as shown in the application...etc. Exhibit E and Exhibit F to read in full.

Something appears at odds with this situation or procedural path. It doesn't seem to make any sense to have a Community Zoning Meeting to hear a Revised Proposal on August 18, 2015. It could unfairly  be construed as an alleged revision. Shouldn't the opposed proposal be resolved first? Is this path of procedures allowable or is it a loophole or something that so happened?
I leaves me feeling uncomfortable. How does the Fishtown Neighbors Association (RCO) explain this for resolve?  Are they aware of what is being presented here? This path is reasonably questionable because it looks like unreasonable manipulation of the zoning process on the surface. How well does such a loophole, if it actually exist, serve to benefit the Fishtown community in whole?
Maybe the lawyer and the Fishtown Neighbors Association (RCO) should postpone the scheduled Community Zoning Meeting until this overlapping conflict is resolved.
It's just not making any sense to have a Community Zoning Meeting to hear a Revised Proposal for 439 Belgrade St on August 18, 2015.

opinion point of view by roman blazic_all rights reserved

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Better View

A view of inclusiveness in Fishtown

Fishtown's community newspaper, the Spirit, asked if I'd like to contribute pictures for their photo issue this week. It, for me, depends on what I see and how it inspires me to photograph something. It was on the last two days that I got inspired.
It started with the photos of the last vestiges of railroad tracks and my encounter with Vice TV. These photos appeared in my previous blog post. There were a few other pictures that weren't relevant to the story. You'll see them here.
The next day was spent at Penn Treaty Park for Shakespeare in the Park, "The Tempest." Other noteworthy things were going on in the park that day too. Take a look and a better view.
By the Fishtown Market
 Mini flee market at Columbia and Wildey
Xhale smoke shop on Girard Ave
The Hawk was a few steps away from Xhale. This guy was a good sport and all for what I was doing.
Aztec Dance in Philadelphia, Cenzontle Cuicatl, celebrated its 5th Anniversary in Penn Treaty Park.
These young ladies celebrated Quinceanera or "Sweet Fifteen"- a traditional celebration in many different Hispanic cultures.
The happy newlyweds.
 Another Quinceanera celebration.
Shakespeare's, "The Tempest", performed in the evening shade by the river's edge.
It was a day of rich heritage, old and new traditions and of the arts "by deeds of peace".

words and pictures by roman blazic_all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Filming in Fishtown II

Vice TV or is it The Vice Channel

The original focus of my photo shoot was to find the last vestige of railroad tracks in Fishtown of its industrial past. The first trace was found on the corner of York and Thompson Street.

I quickly realized that the best place to have a closer look was on Beach Street near Penn Treaty Park. This street has been paved over but, sure enough, I found many remnants of railroad tracks. It is also possible that more remnants could remain in the area along Front and Laurel Street.

I noticed a film crew in action a short distance from the park. A sound engineer was hurrying along with additional equipment.  I, upon asking what the shoot was about, was told that the filming was for Vice TV. 
I moved closer and behind the production and shot some pictures. A not to be named person approached me and asked that I not take anymore pictures. This created an opening for me to ask some direct questions. We eventually had a conversation about what was going on. 
We formed an understanding and agreement not for me to name names or reveal any topic or the depth of the conversation. This is know as a verbal agreement or as I refer to it as a gentleman's agreement. Breaking such an agreement could result in an unlikely but possible legal action but clearly can result in an ethical matter.
It's important to note that any such offer whether it be verbal or in written form that clearly lacks an understanding and/or agreement voids any possible legal action and ethical matters. 
It's always best to be honorable to the rule of law and ethics.

words and pictures by roman blazic_all rights reserved   

Monday, July 20, 2015

On July 20th

It's not a lifestyle choice. I was born like this.

The Sabian Symbol for your birthday is a Greek muse weighing new born twins in golden scales. Your intuition drives you to find the true value in things, which allows you to weigh and present alternatives internally. Even if your personal revelations sometimes alter from that of society, trust your intuition. (Geez! Does anybody really believe in this stuff?)

On This Day
1951 - King Abdullah I of Jordan is assassinated by a Palestinian while attending Friday prayers in Jerusalem. (it wasn't my fault)
1956 - US performs atmospheric nuclear Test at Bikini Island. (my mom told me the snow was radioactive)
1960 - USSR recovered 2 dogs; 1st living organisms to return from space. (it's been said that I deserve that honor)
1964 - 1st surfin' record to go #1-Jan & Dean's "Surf City" (and I had my first drink in a Tiki Bar)
1965 - NY Yankee pitcher Mel Stottlemyre hits an inside-the-park grand slam. (while I had to deal with the same number of giant zits on my face)
1968 - Iron Butterfly's "In-a-gadda-da-vida" becomes 1st heavy metal song to hit charts, it comes in at #117 (I stunned everyone because I could whistle the drum solo)
1976 - US Viking 1 lands on Mars at Chryse Planitia, 1st Martian landing. (oh yea! Well, I was there several times before that on the Astro Plain)
1989 - 93°F, highest overnight low ever recorded in Phoenix Arizona. (what a night that was and no weed)
1993 - Fire in the press box at Altanta Fulton County Stadium. (and I wondered why CNN went off the air. Still no weed.)
2001 - The London Stock Exchange goes public. (I cashed in and bought gold. Scotland Yard is still looking for me.)
2005 - Canada becomes the 4th country to permit same sex marriage. (while in the USA masterbation remained illegal in seven states) was unaware that Episode ll The Annoying Middle Class would be published the next day. (I remain endearing to all these folks.)
2015 - I'm still having more fun than most kids my age.

it's a conspiracy by roman blazic_so write your own stuff

An Oasis

Lutheran Settlement House Garden

I found refuge in this garden on the corner of Frankford Avenue and Master Street in Fishtown. This beautiful urban garden was the perfect place to reign in a creative explosion and find much needed focus. My focus did shift towards what was so pleasantly in front of me. Creativity can be like an affliction of mass confusion until it is given a focus.
The tall standing Sun Flowers lead the way to the lower standing flowers. The benches and picnic table allowed me to sit and take it all in. It also helped opened up conversation among others who also found refuge from routine or what ever the circumstance.

Jennifer is one of Fishtown's more recent neighbors. She's originally from upstate New York and moved here following her dreams and friends. She was so easy to talk with and if you meet her you'll find the same. Welcome to Fishtown.

And then there was Deirdra.
There's a variety of ways to spell her name but it's all pronounced the same. Deirdra was walking towards Girard Avenue when we both made eye contact, a smile and then a hello. She mentioned how she enjoyed passing this garden on the way to Joe's Steaks on the corner of Frankford and Girard Avenue. She said she likes to eat lunch there. I told her that I was taking pictures of the garden and asked if I could take her picture. She replied, "No, no, no.""I don't look good in pictures." I told her that it would be a nice picture with the sun flowers standing behind her. Deirdra turned and looked at the flowers and said that would be nice. She then said, "When that's done, why don't you come to lunch with me." "My treat." I respectfully declined her offer by telling her I was just about ready to head back home. Deirdra looked me straight in the eye and said, "I don't like eating alone." It's more fun when you have some company." I couldn't refuse her and so we walked together to Joe's Steaks and had lunch. 
Everyone at Joe's greeted her because she's so easy to remember. Deirdra wouldn't have any of it when I said that I'd pay for my own food. She said, "Don't do that." "I don't want you to remind me of my children." "They always do that." All I could say was "OK but I pay the tip." She paused and thought for a moment and then said, "That's OK then."
We both had a tasty chicken cheese sandwich and a glass of coke. Time passed as she told about her late husband and how she was proud that all her children were doing well for themselves. Deirdra also told me that she was 92 years old. This women can walk as fast as any one of us. I had her slow down because that pace could up and bite me sooner or later in the day. 
We must have spend nearly an hour together at the steak shop before we parted ways. Maybe the name of this story should have been, My Lunch with Deirdra.

true story and photos by roman blazic_all rights reserved before and after lunch