ACLU Now Involved In Rose Tree Park Matter — A letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has been sent to Delaware County officials concerning the matter, July 16, in which Libertarians circulating petitions for their 7th District Congressional candidate Patrick Sellers were chased from the county-owned Rose Tree Park after their petitions were confiscated then apparently lost.
The letter from Deputy Legal Director Mary Catherine Roper is addressed to county solicitor Michael L. Maddren; Delaware County Park Police Chief Samuel S. Ziviello; and Parks Director Marc J. Manfre.
The letter notes that bans on distributing political literature or carrying political signs are unconstitutional even if the ban was neutral which in the case of Rose Tree Park it is not.
Libertarian spokesman Dale Kerns of Ridley said the canvassers have been allowed back in the park but are not allowed to carry signs or wear t-shirts identifying their party.
He also says the confiscated signatures have still not been returned. Sellers needs 2,500 signatures from residents of the 7th District to get on the ballot. If he falls a few hundred short, a very real civil rights violation will have occurred which will not bode well for the careers of certain county officials and police people.
Libertarians Rose Tree Park Return Without Hassle — Those collecting signatures for Libertarian Pennsylvania 7th District Congressional candidate Patrick Sellers have returned to Rose Tree Park and are collecting them without interference according to Dale Kerns Jr.
Kerns, Sellers and six others were at the county-owned park in Upper Providence last night (July 21) during Summer Festival and plan on being there each night through Sunday.
“We thank (Park Police Chief Samuel S. Ziviello) for helping resolve this issue,” said Kerns. “He called to say that his officers would not interfere with us at the park, and that he would be available on his cell if there were any issues. A few of the officers talked and joked with us. Nice night all in all.”
Kerns says the confiscated petitions have not been returned and appear to have been lost by police. This could cause some trouble for the agency — and the county, especially Councilman Mario Civera, whose name was given as having ordered the action — if Sellers cannot get on the ballot due to a lack of names.
Libertarians Pledge Rose Tree Park Return — The Libertarians who had their petitions for Pennsylvania 7th District Congressional candidate Pat Sellers confiscated by Delaware County Park Police while canvassing in the county’s Rose Tree Park, July 16, are saying they will return Thursday (July 21) through Sunday to try again and have so informed Park Police Chief Samuel S. Ziviello.
The below statement was written by Dale Kerns Jr. of Ridley.
Chief Samuel S. Ziviello, I would like to thank you for allowing myself and David Jahn, chairman of the Delaware County Libertarian Party, to meet with you yesterday (July 18). I understand that you’re waiting for your solicitor to respond to the letter I have written. I also appreciate your call at the end of the day yesterday telling me you still have not heard from him. But what I do not appreciate is that every day that is delayed is a day that we cannot exercise our first amendment rights in that location. Every day that is delayed is the day that our civil liberties are being violated.
I hope that everyone at the county level understands what a horrible injustice this is to the civil liberties of everyone in the county and I hope that they will work to get us answers. We want to know that we can go peacefully to the park that we fund with our tax dollars and exercise our First Amendment rights and all other rights; without being harassed, intimidated, threatened, or violated in any other way.
If I do not hear back From you soon I will take my interpretation of the First Amendment, of the Supreme Court decisions that have already been established with respect to collecting signatures, and exercise these rights at Rose Tree Park immediately. I will do so peacefully, without antagonizing, and without disruption of anyone. I expect that I can expect that the officers under you Will not be ordered to treat us like criminals and violate our rights.
On Thursday of this week, Friday of this week, Saturday of this week, and Sunday of this week, we (peaceful law abiding citizens) will be back at the park from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. exercising our rights as free people. We encourage your support.
Kerns, Sellers Statements Update — Dale Kerns Jr. says Park Police Chief Samuel S. Ziviello has said they intend to return his petitions but can’t find them. Chief, you could be looking at some serious legal aggravation if they can’t be found. Kerns also said Ziviello is waiting upon a ruling by their solicitor as to whether they can canvass in the park.
Kerns, Sellers Statements — Here are statements by Dale Kerns Jr. and Patrick Henry Sellers regarding the incident, July 16, in Rose Tree Park in which they petitions they were circulating for Libertarian candidates were confiscated and Kerns was later subject to a car stop and threatened with arrest.
Dale Kerns Jr, Ridley Township Pa.
Dear Chief Samuel S. Ziviello, I am writing to you about a matter that occurred in your jurisdiction very recently involving the Delaware County Park Police, Mario Civera and County Council, and individuals on staff at the Summer Festival and Parks and Recreation. The matter involved an abuse of power, jurisdictional violations, violations of the 1st Amendment rights of individuals and political parties from the State and Federal levels, a violation of Federal Code Chapter 29 Section 529, violation of numerous Supreme Court rulings and the violation of the oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from both officers and County officials.
On Thursday July 15th 2016, while petitioning with several individuals for the office of President, United States Senate, Pennsylvania Attorney General, U.S. Congress, and other offices; I was first approached by Mark Manfre who identified himself as the guy in charge of the division of Parks and Recreation. At that time Mr. Manfre insisted that we leave the property because solicitation was not something that was allowed in the park. It was then that I informed Mr. Manfre that we were exercising our right to free speech and at no time were we selling anything. Mr. Manfre said he knows exactly what we are doing because he also does the same thing on many occasions. After a rather short discussion and my insisting that Mr. Manfre show me the law that says I cannot exercise my right to free speech, Mr. Manfre headed to his office to find out more information. By this time Mr. Manfre had held us up so much that we were not very successful with our collections- the whole operation was compromised.
Upon his return, Mr. Manfre said that he could find no law, and that he spoke to his solicitor. Mr. Manfre informed me that the solicitor agreed, and that he was not to have us removed from the park because it would violate my first amendment rights. It was then that Mr. Manfre wished us luck, told us that he did not agree with us being there but the solicitor gave him legal direction. Mr. Manfre then told me that within the next week he would have a law passed that would keep us from proceeding the next week.
Just two days later on July 17th 2016, after gathering signatures for about an hour with Patrick Henry Sellers, the Libertarian Congressional Candidate, at approximately 6:30 PM we were approached by a female officer with the Delaware County Park Police who referred to herself as the Lieutenant. The Lieutenant said we have to stop what we are doing because there is no political stuff allowed on the Park Grounds. Patrick Sellers and I informed her that we were just exercising our right to free speech, and not soliciting anything of any kind. We also informed her that we had the same approach taken by Mark Manfre just two days prior. She said she had direction from Mario Civera of County Council and Mark Manfre of the Parks and Recreation to have us removed and cited if we did not comply. After the Lieutenant informed us, I offered to show her Supreme Court Precedent that protects our actions under the United States Constitution. The Lieutenant replied that the United States Constitution and the Supreme Court does not sign her paychecks and the County Council does. It was at that point that she said we had to stop collection of signatures, remove any signs that we had on or near our person and any literature or face citations and possibly jail.
At that time, Pat Sellers and I stopped all exercising of rights as we felt that the situation was very threatening. As the Lieutenant pulled away in her vehicle, a second vehicle approached with another officer who identified himself as officer Lasina or Masina as we were packing up. This officer said that we were breaking law, committing a crime, and asked if we had identification. We told him that identification was not on us but in our cars. Pat Sellers and I had not even made it to our cars yet from when the Lieutenant pulled away. The officer then told us to head to our cars.
I then went to my car, and Pat Sellers did the same. I pulled away first, and headed out of the park. When I realized that I did not have all of my clipboards I stopped in the circle to gather everything. The Lieutenant was there and said I was not following orders. When I told her I only wanted my signatures and I was leaving, she said they are now evidence and she was directed to confiscate them. She said to see County Council if I want to know the law and to find out how to get my nomination papers back. At that point, I saw officers pulling over Pat Sellers.
I then went south on 252 towards Chester Pennsylvania. I stopped at Wawa just after the route 1 bypass. I purchased my order to take home for which I have a receipt. Upon leaving the premises of Wawa and heading in the direction of 476 in the route 1 bypass, I was pulled over by the Delaware County Park Police, officers Masina or Lasina and Lieutenant Berkey, another unidentified officer was also on the scene at one point. It was at this time I began to film.
I was told that I was being pulled over for committing a crime, which was solicitation and disorderly conduct. I was told that this stop was a direct order and was at the direction of County Council Chairman Mario Civera. The rest can be found on the footage of the video tapes (which you probably have seen to this point and has had over 30,000 views in the first 24 hours). Additionally, the nomination papers have yet to be returned, even though on the video the officers said they were on their way with them.
Consequently, after the whole ordeal there were no charges, but I am unable to regain my first amendment rights back for that evening, I am unable to undo what was done with respect to the way it appeared we were guilty to over 300 individuals in that park. I also cannot undo the fact that the officers in the Delaware County Park have an allegiance to the Delaware County Council and the Chief of Police before serving under their oath to Protect and Defend the United States and Pennsylvania Constitution. Unfortunately, that latter can only be initiated by you.
I would like to move toward rectifying these matters diplomatically. I would like to have the nomination papers that I circulated returned. I would like to have full faith in the fact that nobody exercising their right to free speech in county parks will have to go through what I went through ever again with respect to the harassment, threats, intimidation, and ignorance of my rights as a free individual. And, I would like to know that the officers that are out there protecting us are not following direct orders from a single person in power instead of the law of the land The United States and Pennsylvania Constitution.
I thank you for your time in this matter and look forward to hearing from you immediately so that we can resolve this matter in a gentleman like fashion.
Patrick Henry Sellers, Libertarian candidate for Congress, 7th District, Pennsylvania.
I can attest that everything Dale Kerns said about what happened in Rose Tree Park on Thursday and Saturday 7/14/16, 7/16/16 is accurate.
I also share Dale’s desire for a quick resolution to this. I am extremely dismayed over the very bad publicity this caused for my campaign and the other candidates on our petitions. How are we now going to change the opinion of all those people who walked by us, me holding my “Sellers for Congress” sign, as the officers probably appeared to be arresting us?
Libertarian Petitions Confiscated In Delco — In an exceedingly boneheaded move, Saturday evening (July 16), Delaware County Park Police stopped Libertarians from circulating petitions for 7th District congressional candidate Patrick Henry Sellers in the county’s Rose Tree Park in Upper Providence. Police confiscated the petitions and later chased down the circulators with intent to cite them for disorderly conduct.
“I was asked to leave the park and complied,” said Dale Kerns. “I went to (the nearby) Wawa. After leaving Wawa on 252 by the Route 1 bypass, the Park Police pulled me over outside their jurisdiction on Route 1 heading toward the Blue Route.”
The encounter shortly before 8 p.m. was recorded by Kerns. One of the officers says the action was taken at the behest of County Council member Mario Civera just after explaining why the citation is being issued.
Tough break, kid. You are young and there are many other police departments in the nation.
Solicitation is prohibited in county parks albeit this is generally understood to be for commercial matters and not for things like collecting signatures for candidate petitions.
Regardless, that the petitions were confiscated is drastically overstepping all reasonable bounds of law enforcement.
At least American law enforcement.
Kerns says that police ultimately decided not to file the criminal citations but they have yet to return his petitions with the names he collected.
He says he has been in contact with a civil rights attorney.
Among those with whom Sellers will be contending this fall — assuming he gets enough signatures to get on the ballot — will be GOP incumbent Pat Meehan.
Wagner Two-Faced On Anti-Business Law — Sen. Scott Wagner, who says in the below article, that he is “extremely concerned with how Federal and State Regulations are choking businesses” and “Barack Obama’s anti-business agenda” is pushing legislation to make life harder for small business by adding “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” to the list of “protected classes“. Nobody likes bullies but what Wagner and Sen. Pat Browne (R-16) are ignoring with the laws they are pushing is that bullies exist in government too and especially in the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission which would be tasked with enforcing this garbage.
There are employers and supervisors who take pleasure in humiliating employees and prospective employees. Nobody likes them. They are not an iota as dangerous, however, as the government officials with that character trait.
Like those in the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
The anti-business bill Wagner is pushing, SB 1307, is advancing and was re-referred to the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee on June 27.
A bill, SB 1316, sponsored by Sen. Browne which would forbid discrimination against men claiming to be women regarding housing such as college dorms moved to the State Government committee June 21.
The Pennsylvania state budget for 2016-17 was finalized July 13. I will be reporting in depth the details in an email next week.
This email is focused on the Presidential election.
I will be traveling to Cleveland next week to attend the Republican National Convention.
It appears that the Presidential race is down to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
I expect that Donald Trump will be nominated as the Republican candidate for the General Election in November.
I would like to share my thoughts and opinion.
As a private sector business owner I am extremely concerned with how Federal and State Regulations are choking businesses.
Case in point – Barack Obama’s war on coal has just about vaporized the coal industry in the US and especially Western Pennsylvania.
Businesses employ people and create jobs – they always have, and always will.
I am very concerned about the thought of Hillary Clinton stepping foot into the White House and doubling-down on Barack Obama’s anti-business agenda.
Americans have witnessed firsthand the last three weeks of events – first when Bill Clinton just by chance happened to be on the same tarmac, at an airport on an airplane, at the same time that the United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch was at the same airport, the same tarmac and on an airplane, and they just happened to meet.
The press reported that Bill Clinton and Ms. Lynch discussed golf, the weather, their children and grandchildren – ironically several days after this chance meeting the FBI announced that they are not going to pursue action against Hillary Clinton over her emails.
Cut me a break – The press, Bill Clinton and Hillary must think that Americans are clueless and stupid – the meeting was preset and a deal was definitely done on an airplane.
I have been watching Donald Trump very closely – I watch what he says and what he does.
Looking back to 2013 when I announced that I was going to run for the Pennsylvania 28th State Senate seat I called a donor in the York community – he told me that he was going to sit on the sidelines with my race – he had concerns that my style wouldn’t work in Harrisburg.
I have worked hard on my style – but at the end of the day – my style is asking questions and continuing to ask questions until I fully understand the issue – demanding accountability – I am pushing the envelope on change and breaking the status-quo mold.
Please allow me to point out – I did not have a lifelong plan to run for a seat in the Pennsylvania State Senate – I was fed up, and when our Senator resigned I decided to roll up my shirt sleeves and get involved to make a difference.
I think Donald Trump is similar in many ways to me – he doesn’t need the job as President and he doesn’t need the money – the guy is seventy years old – I am sure he would be much more happy continuing to operate his businesses – it appears that his children are highly active in the businesses and are smart and intelligent – Donald Trump could spend the rest of his life working with his children and watch them become great business people.
I think that Donald Trump, in his own large ego way, said one day, “I have had enough of America being pounded and run down by career politicians and the crony system.”
I stayed on the sidelines up until a few weeks ago – I made a decision to let the Republican candidates work through the process – at the end of the day I respect each and every Republican candidate who stepped into the ring with their own ideas of how to get America back on track.
Now that Donald Trump is most likely going to be the Republican Candidate I am going to do everything I can to help him get elected.
I put a lot of effort into Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012 – his campaign was not run well in Pennsylvania, and as a result he lost.
This past weekend I reached out to someone in the Pennsylvania State Republican Party to arrange a meeting with the top person or people who are running Donald Trump’s campaign.
I received a call this past Monday afternoon that a meeting had been set up with Trump’s campaign people for that evening.
I traveled to Cleveland and had a forty-five minute private meeting with Paul Manafort, the National Campaign Manager for the Trump campaign and five other high level campaign people.
The conversation was direct and to the point – I expressed that many people in Pennsylvania want to be part of this critical race.
I requested 20,000 yard signs so that any person who wants a “Trump for President” sign for their yard can get one in South Central PA.
I also asked what may be a strange question – Does Mr. Trump have a best friend? – A best friend who can be off stage at an event that Mr. Trump is speaking at, and if he says something stupid that this friend can yell at Mr. Trump for the stupid comment or comments he made.
I am lucky – I have several friends who yell at me if I say something stupid – I am getting better and so will Mr. Trump.
I left the meeting on Monday night with Paul Manafort with an increased level of confidence that Donald Trump has hired Mr. Manafort and a very strong team is being assembled to win the General Election in November and put Donald Trump in the White House.
News releases today are suggesting that Governor Mike Pence from Indiana may be Donald Trump’s pick as his running mate for Vice President.
I had an opportunity to meet and have a conversation with Governor Pence at an Republican Governor’s Association event in Detroit this past October.
Governor Pence has done good things for Indiana since he has been in office – I can tell you he is not a status-quo person and wants to make positive changes – he is very pro-business – remember what I said earlier – businesses employ people and create jobs.
So here is my ask of everyone who cares deeply about our great country – please put aside all of your differences and be supportive of Donald Trump – the bottom line is we cannot – I repeat, we cannot allow Hillary Clinton in the White House.
Please don’t make comments that you are not going to vote for either candidate – your lack of a vote is not acceptable – please remember this great country – the United States of America – please remember the many brave people who fought for, and the people who died for, the freedoms we enjoy each and every day.
Top Donors 2014— Sunlight Foundation which does yeoman’s work showing how our political campaigns and crusades are funded recently distributed a best-of 2015 which included this dissection from April of where the money went in the 2014 election from the “one percent of the one percent”. They hold this category contains 31,976 persons who contributed $1.18 billion.
Sunlight noted that this money skewed slightly to the GOP and conservatives — $553 million verses $505 million to Democrats and liberals. The top donors, however, were overwhelmingly D.
Liberal hedge fund manger Tom Steyer spent $73,884, 467, which is more than the next 17 Republicans combined. A nice chunk of it went to the campaign for Tom Wolf.
The number 2 donor was former New York Mayor Michale Bloomberg who once upon a time was a Republican but has since moved solely into the camp of country-club progressives. He gave $11,042,800 of which $10,527,600 went to the left.
Sunlight is a critic of Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that held that the First Amendment prohibited government interference with political spending by non-profit groups. Much of this money now goes to “super PACs” which are political action committees that don’t make direct contributions to candidates but stick to issues.
Criticism of Citizens United is extremely short-sighted. The Supreme Court got it right. The largest media organization in the world is Philadelphia-based Comcast. It’s “news” outlets are NBC and its spin-offs, which are basically Democrat propaganda machines. The New York Times, despite its fading reputation, is also a partisan mouthpiece. There is no inherent difference between a group of people chipping in to send out mailings and make posters to disseminate information than a New York Times front page story except that the mailings and posters are likely far more honest and accurate.
“Traditionally, members of the House of Representatives have been presented with a limited plate of options when choosing technology to run their offices and manage their web presences. Members that wanted to take advantage of open source solutions — which are restriction-free, reusable and frequently more cost-effective — faced significant uncertainty and were pushed towards a small selection of proprietary options.”
Sunlight says that the impending launch of the Open Source Caucus is an indication that things are changing.
A retired Philadelphia police captain with a reputation for controversy and the mayor of Chester, Pa. were among those who described police realities and potential reforms to a crowd of about 20, yesterday, April 12, at a symposium on community policing sponsored by Democracy Unplugged.
The event was held at Swarthmore Borough Hall on a beautiful, sunny Sunday spring afternoon.
The captain, Ray Lewis, made international headlines with his association with Occupy Wall Street. He said those who run police departments suffer from a “John Wayne syndrome” which affects hiring decisions. This leads to officers not inclined to maintain good community relations.
Lewis said if the applicant scores high on sensitivity and empathy he is not hired.
He also said training is poorly prioritized with almost all of it directed towards physical fitness, firearms and unarmed combat.
“Police work is 95 percent social work,” he said.
He stressed the importance of good training officers and said that dispute mediation and stress management should be emphasized. Lewis, who served 19 of his 26 years in inner city Philadelphia, said that his training officer was a womanizing, brutal, drunken thief. He said that just the nature of the job hardens one.
Lewis encouraged video recording police encounters by passersby.
“Good cops will love being recorded,” he said albeit he said praise has to accompany such recordings.
Lewis said that he believed that unlike in the United Kingdom, American police need to carry firearms.
He said his support for Occupy Wall Street came from his suspicion that most billionaires are lawless sociopaths.
Lewis was wearing his captain’s uniform which got him so much grief during the OWS demonstrations.
Chester Mayor John Linder said 533 guns have been confiscated from criminals in his crime-ridden city since he took office in 2012.
“People are solving problems with guns,” he said.
Linder also took issue with certain shibboleths regarding diversity. He said that 24 of the 100 officers that serve his predominantly black city are African-Americans with five being Hispanic and the rest being white.
“My goal is to get police officers, good police officers,” he said. “My view is if we get people who reflect the hue, fine, but quality comes first.”
He thought the racial turmoil over recent incidents is overblown.
“I hear this all the time ‘what about Ferguson?’ I say what about Chester?”
Linder who as a young man took part in civil rights era protests expressed the opinion that these outcries are cyclical.
“How do you get rid of Fergusons? Get responsible police.”
He noted the Chester Police Department has had very few allegations of using excessive force.
“If you are professional, I’ll back you 100 percent,” he said. If you are not professional I’m going to deal with you 100 percent.”
Linder said that the urban environment is not as stable as it used to be.
“Calls come in too quick,” he said. “There is no time to sit down and make a friend.”
Swarthmore Police Chief Brian Craig spoke regarding policing in the suburbs.
Craig, a former Philadelphia police officer, said what he found to be a shocking difference was parking meters.
“In my first six months, 50 percent of my time was dealing with parking meters,” he said.
He said police work has gotten more dangerous than it was when he started in 1971. He cited drugs, the 9/11 attacks and the Columbine High School massacre.
He noted that the local police followed procedure regarding the 1999 school massacre setting up a perimeter as they were trained. The procedure, however, failed to account for the killings still occurring inside. Craig said the procedure has now been changed.
Craig emphasized the importance of community relations. He said that on the 25th anniversary of Philadelphia Columbia Avenue race riots, one of the local TV news stations appeared to be trying to stir the pot for an encore. He said, however, community outreach stopped it.
Regarding budget matters, Craig noted that school districts get their requests in first and overwhelmingly get the bigger piece of the pie.
William Taylor Reil, a constitutional scholar, warned of widespread ignorance of the Constitution among law enforcement. He said, for instance, that the Pennsylvania constitution made the sheriff the highest law enforcement officer in the county, a circumstance that is routinely ignored. He noted that county sheriff is an elected office unlike most police officials.
Reil also took issue with the term “law enforcement officer” having replaced “peace officer.”
“Law enforcement means don’t question just do what it says,” he said.
Libertarian activist Darren Wolfe spoke on community policing. He said privately run police departments could save money and be more effective. He cited as examples mall security guards and security companies hired by gated communities.
The moderator was David Easlea and the introduction was made by Bob Small.