Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Eldred Township voters reject remnants of corrupt administration that would have allowed Nestle Waters to extract 200,000 gallons of water a day

In a stroke of unparalleled gall, two officials from an administration that the evidence shows conspired to lay out the red carpet to water scavenger Nestle Waters ran for office this year.  Darcy Gannon, the mother of former Supervisor Gretchen Gannon Pettit (the girlfriend of Nestle lease holder Rick Gower), was the Planning Commission secretary during the time a critical and illegal zoning change was made that allowed Nestle to file its application.  Ellerslie "Bub" Dimwit Helm was the zoning officer when Nestle's application was filed.  These two specimens got on the ballot this year, Gannon for Tax Collector and Helm for Supervisor - apparently as some sort of payback to the forces that rose to defeat Nestle as well as sweep the trash out of the township offices.

This blogger met Helm in December 2015, prior to Nestle filing its application.   He came across as a bit of a buffoon, but on the subject of the Gower property he had an opinion and he wasn't hesitant to express it - Gower had extra water and he had a right to sell it.  Helm's job is not to opine on what he feels someone has a right to do.  His job is to enforce the zoning ordinance, but he clearly did not understand this. A few weeks later, Nestle submitted its application, and Helm issued a one paragraph review that he didn't even sign his name to, finding no deficiencies.  The township engineer's reviews found numerous deficiencies, one being that Nestle and Gower had already blocked a road across the property used to access lots off site.  Helm was on the Gower property, and either didn't notice this or didn't care.  Having met the man, both are possible.  Helm is the 10 watt bulb that slipped into the 100 watt package.  Helm was unceremoniously and abruptly shown the door once the stark discontinuity between his "review" and that of the engineer was observed.

Gannon is a horse of a different color.  Let's talk about her daughter first - mother's pride.  Gannon-Pettit called the county in her role as supervisor, and directed them to name a path that traveled off her boyfriend's property and onto a neighbor's property, continuing to a public road.  The boyfriend was issued a sign by the county and he erected it.  This illegal "road" was intended as a second access to the boyfriend's lot so he could lease the rest to one of his failed business ventures - in this case Nestle.  OK, so Ms. Gannon thence conspired with the lawyer representing her cherished Gretchen's boyfriend, who appeared before the Planning Commission and made misrepresentations on behalf of his client.  Gannon surreptitiously transmitted draft minutes of this meeting to the lawyer, who altered them to misrepresent what transpired during the meeting and returned them through the daughter's email to Gannon, with a note "thanks, let's get together and do lunch."  Gannon adopted the lawyer's alterations verbatim.  Once Gannon's actions were discovered, she was shown the door.

This story would be incomplete without mentioning another member of the conspiracy, Supervisor Sharon Solt.  Solt was the township Treasurer, Secretary, Supervisor, etc etc.  She was in a position to get whatever needed getting done, done, for the right people.  It was just recently discovered that she failed to send W-2s for township employees to Social Security in 2011 and 2012, resulting in fines to the township of $2807.70.  Solt and Gannon-Pettit successfully pushed through the purchase of the Eldred Township School, which came with roughly $50,000 per year operating costs, to use as a community center.  Only over a year later would the community be told that Nestle would give it about $30,000 per year - which one can easily surmise Solt and Gannon-Pettit had secretly planned to use to help defray costs.  Solt and Gannon-Pettit, as supervisors, were instrumental in passing the illegal amendment that allowed Nestle to pursue an application for the boyfriend's property.

Gannon-Pettit and Solt attempted unsuccessfully to replace long time treasurer and hater of this blog author Helen Mackes, who retired as of Dec 31 2015, with Gannon in the last 2 month's of the outgoing administration.  This attempt was blocked by people who knew enough about Gannon's actions to create a public spectacle and that cronyism was halted in its tracks.

The crowning achievement of the conspiracy to bring Nestle to town was that someone, and it could have only been one of a few people, called the Pocono Record advertising department and requested that the authorized text of a legal notice of the amendment in question be altered in a manner that concealed its effect to the public.

On just June 8 last year, Nestle withdrew its application as its deficiencies were becoming crystal clear during zoning hearing board review.  It is hard to believe that Gannon and Helm thought the community had forgotten the expensive and painful mess that their malfeasance and incompetence had caused.  It has not.

Here are the results:

Supervisor (vote for 1)
Gary Hoffman (D)  86 votes
Ellerslie "Bub" Dimwit Helm (D)  54 votes

Tax Collector (vote for 1)
Lenna Kuehner (D) 58 votes
Mindy Harris (D) 45 votes
Darcy "Lets Do Lunch" Gannon (D) 40 votes

It is frightening to see that Helm and Gannon received as many votes as they did.  Those who voted for them are the kind that would change the ordinance to allow forest near residential areas to be plowed down to put in race tracks and gun ranges, and abandon an easement to the township from the Rod & Gun Club for a Rail Trail.  In other words take Eldred Township back 10 steps.

The voters have spoken.  They have not forgotten what you did.

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