George Hill Prison Again Before Council

George Hill Prison Again Before Council

Max Orenstein formerly of the Delaware County Public Defender’s office, called out County Council, Feb. 1, for dissembling about problems at the county prison, Joy Schwartz tells us.

Orenstein, who helped reduce numbers at the jail during the pandemic, says the numbers have now ballooned despite council’s claims of otherwise.

Orenstein says the inmates are living in sub-human conditions. He urges rejection of the proposed $40 million new juvenile facility and encourages all to resist council propaganda.

How can the George W. Hill Correctional Facility have a net increase in prisoners when the crime rate is down?, he asked.

Guards are also sounding the alarm about things at the prison.

The council heard numerous complaints from environmental activists about the proposed Penn LNG liquid natural gas export terminal proposed for Chester.

We will give our green friends odds this is going to come to pass. The people running things may give caring looks when talking to their faces but they are laughing their asses off at them after they walk away.

Carris Kocher expressed disappointment that council will not respond to questions or engage with constituents, and expressed dissatisfaction with the changes in the code regarding elections, especially the omission of the Return Board report.

She also expressed concerns about ZenCity, the artificial intelligence program council is adopted to assist with (or make?) policy.

Joy also tells us that the Board of Elections failed to give the required three days notice Jan. 24 meeting. They announced it on Jan. 23, she says.

George Hill Prison Again Before Council
George Hill Prison Again Before Council

Delco Council Accused Of Ignoring Prison Crisis

Delco Council Accused Of Ignoring Prison Crisis — Frank Kwaning, president of the Delaware County (Pa) Prison Employees Independent Union, told County Council, last night, Jan. 18, that things are bad at the prison and that the county has been ducking requests for meetings with the union to resolve matters.

Others have also reported on the dangerous conditions at George W. Hill Correctional Facility.

The county took over the prison on April 6. It had been privately run since 1998.

Councilman Richard R. Womack, Jr. said he was unaware there had been an attempt to schedule a meeting and pledged to connect.

The drug crisis was also discussed along with a discussion on how to spend the $63 million settlement the county received as its share of a billion dollar settlement with pharmaceutical firms Cardinal Health, McKesson, and the Conshohocken-based Amerisource Bergen regarding their involvement in the wrongful distribution of opioids. The payout will be $3.5 million per year for 18 years.

It was noted that there were 1,584 overdose calls in Delco in 2022 which is believed to underrepresent the number of actual overdoses as people reported unconscious would not have been recorded as an overdose.

 Councilwoman Christine A. Reuther came close to blaming racism for the crisis. Here’s a thought, stop mentioning skin color. Allocate resources according to the rate of occurrences. Nobody will object, and you end a point of division while advancing unity.

Christopher Welsh, who heads the public defenders offices, announced that all public defenders were now full time employees of the county and members of the United Auto Workers. And listing one’s pronouns on an official government document is rather unserious.

There was a first reading of an ordinance updating the county code regarding parks. It was noted that existing code was decades old and failed to account for things like drones. The new ordinance would require a permit for filming. Wonder if they are accounting for things like cell phones.

Also, 24 agenda items were approved by consent; Councilwoman Reuther was appointed to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission for one-year term; David L. Walker, Claudia Cueto, William T. Smith, John Gillespie and Brian Razzi were appointed to the Delaware County Planning Commission for a term ending January 2027; and 16 property tax refunds were approved.

For a story about the changes made to the county election code follow this link.

Delco Council Accused Of Ignoring Prison Crisis

Delco Council Accused Of Ignoring Prison Crisis

Delco Council Changes Election Code For Worse

Delco Council Changes Election Code For Worse — Delaware County Council (Pa), tonight, Jan. 18, as expected, changed its code making elections less transparent and giving veto power to the ruling Democrats as to who the state-mandated minority party member of the three-member Board of Elections would be.

The new law allows the board to reject all members on a list of three names submitted by the Republicans for the seat and restart the process. Previously, they had to accept one of the names.

Councilwoman  Christine A. Reuther justified it by saying the Republicans did it once when they were in control.

Council also ended the requirement of a public report from the Election Return a bi-partisan organization created to double-check election results. The reasoning seemed to be that they weren’t following the law anyway.

That, however, wasn’t the fault of the Return Board.

Those speaking out against the change included Chris Fabre of Upper Darby, Joy Schwartz of Upper Darby and Carris Kocher of Concord.

Gregory Stenstrom of Glen Mills noted that he and Leah Hoopes have three court cases still alive regarding election issues involving the county, and that the names of the County Council members along with the Board of Elections and the County Solicitor William Martin have been added to CV-2022-008091 which is before Delaware County Common Pleas Court.

He also noted that the Board of Elections has been fighting, rather strangely, multiple right-to-know requests for public records and that it has ignored orders to produce the information in at least one case.

Ms. Schwartz expressed concern over a plan to consolidate voting precincts hence weakening local control. She also asked about a report that the county sought to abolish precinct voting.

While Ms. Reuther admitted that Council thought some of county’s 428 precincts were too small and should be consolidated, others were thought too big and should be broken up.

She said only the state legislature could end precinct voting.

Fabre warned Council its actions will raise suspicions among the public as it is removing transparency.

Mrs. Kocher noted that the new ordinance appears to be at odds with state code especially regarding the elimination of the need for the return board to advertise its report.

Martin revealed that a voluntary hand recount was held in the 3rd Precinct of Haverford’s 2nd Ward to ease concerns of another group regarding November’s election.

James Allen, the county director of election operations, said it was watched by those making the request who were allowed within two feet of the ballots. The hand count was found to be 100 percent in compliance with the official results.

For other things that happened at the meeting — including the revelation that council is ignoring a crisis at the prison — see next story.

Delco Council Changes Election Code For Worse
Delco Council Changes Election Code
%d bloggers like this: