Saturday, May 31, 2008

Surveillance Cameras - Good For Whom?

Does watching everyone, everywhere all the time with cameras deter crime, or at least reveal it before criminals can escalate or escape?

Obviously. There's absolutely no argument that could say otherwise.

But, does that inherently make it the right thing to do?

Is blanket surveillance of the population, in a free society, the right way to fight crime? Is it fair and constitutional to the law-abiding citizen that they be monitored and recorded every moment that they are going about their business? Is a ratcheted-up Nanny State, acting as baby-sitter, a valid solution to problems whose real roots lie in socio-economic, educational and cultural disparities that remain unaddressed, and thus unchanged?

Or, are we simply abrogating our personal responsibility as citizens to collectively shoulder the burden of maintaining a civil society?

.... To read the rest of this letter, click here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Photo of Convention Center Interior

It is not uncommon for a venue to have open beam ceilings, presuming they and the ceiling are painted black. (Long Beach CC for instance.) With show lighting, the ceiling disappears.

This assumes that the beams are load-bearing to sustain the weight of the trusses for the show lighting. The ideal is to have catwalks running within the trusses for lighting and facilitate rigging.

Venues with finished ceilings (such as Opryland) have ports in the ceiling (like grommets) through which the riggers have access to the steel (with catwalks.)

Without catwalks, the rigging time is quadrupled, and scissor lifts must be brought in. No mysteries, standard procedures.

If there are no catwalks in the early steel construction, it is not "state of the art."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Children have rights at least equal to offenders

Whoever wrote the watchdog item regarding the "Second Chances" halfway house for sex offenders needs to do a little honest research into the lifelong effects (all of them negative) of sexual assault. There are many therapists, faith-based and community-based programs, and victims themselves who I am certain would be glad to provide true, factual information, and who would paint a different picture than the cavalier, dismissive attitude displayed by this writer.

Sexual assault on a child is NOT a "premature sexual experience"! I state with certainty that NO small child dreams of having their first sexual experience be a forced, violent one at the hands of a stranger!

As for the resultant damage being "neither fatal or, in most case (sic), likely to have lasting results", I can name six fatal child abduction rape/murders in recent years by name without breaking a sweat. Megan's Law is named for one of them. As for the likelihood of "lasting results", it is obvious that the writer was not molested as a child. Well, praise God for that!

Those of us who were not so fortunate would have written your Watchdog item in a very different tone and with very different choice of words. You see, we think something that has impacts the rest of your life could rightly be said to have "lasting results". This is not an issue of Puritanical views. This is not an issue of "fear and sex", if you mean NORMAL, HEALTHY, CONSENSUAL SEX! This is about parents wanting their children to be safe, and to be able to just be children. This is about protecting children from perversion and predators.

I appreciate wild animals. I respect their right to exist and go about their business. I am a vegan. I am no threat to them in the least. But I would not want a family of black bears living in the trees behind my house. I would want them relocated to State Game Lands, where they would be safe and my kids would be safe to play outside.

I appreciate that men who have finished their sentences and paid their debt to society need to have a place to re-integrate. But just as I would not want an recovering alcoholic to be given a job as a bartender, a jewel thief to be handed a job at Tiffany's, I do not want recovering sex offenders dropped into the middle of the community in an apartment building housing other people and their children, who have rights at least equal to the offenders'!

Editor's note: The context for "premature sexual experience" was as follows: "Though not meaning to belittle the seriousness of involving children in premature sexual experiences, we believe far greater and lasting damages results from psychological abuse, assault, reckless driving, criminal neglect, and murder."

"County and City very unique"

My heart and soul do not see daylight at the end of this tunnel due to all the infrastructure problems now and in the near future for the city.

The mention of a Trolley is absolutely crazy when we need parking closer to the convention center. We are a lazy society, nobody wants to walk or carry bags any further than necessary. Consider airports as an example: People would rather pay more to park closer to the terminal.

The remodeling of the Amtrak Station and the cost of gas may increase usage of trains to come here but to hop a trolley car with bags to check into the Convention Center and Marriott Hotel is not going to float. What is so wrong with regular buses that are more mobile than a trolley and cost far less? Perhaps have a porter on board to assist the passenger, one who will wear a uniform, work for a minimum wage plus tips, and have a personality.

I would not stay at the Days Inn behind the train station nor the Travel Lodge. Accommodations close to price point, security and comfort of this new Marriott start at the Eden.

The convention center project is in the worst location one could have picked. We need to concentrate on cleaning up the streets and crime in at least a two block radius, open this complex, and hope people will patronize on a regular basis.

Lancaster County and the City are very unique. We cannot be compared to or copy other cities that are trying to attract dollars; we need to enjoy and appreciate who we are and what we have.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Remembering Jack Craver

I attended the service for Jack Craver today and learned so many wonderful things about the life of this outstanding individual.

The man could sing! He could do the N.Y. Times Sunday crossword puzzle in under a half hour when challenged, and so many more delightful aspects.

Several members of his family spoke of a strong, influential man who guided them to adulthood and a career path.

I am glad he spent a bit of his expertise with the people of Lancaster.

Convention Center Design Flawed

The basic design of the convention hall barn roof guarantees terrible acoustics and lighting, with its exposed beams and utilities. (Compare the video simulation presentation to what is actually in place, the reality is much worse than the artist's rendering).

To make matters worse, only 2/3 of the convention hall will be in the barn, the rest will have a low ceiling underneath Ballroom "A". This in effect creates two separate rooms, whether the dividers are open or not. There will be movable dividers attached to the columns which support Ballroom "A", allowing two separate conventions to be held at the same time.

Since Interstate Hotels has come into the picture, Josh Nowak (a really nice young gentleman) and Mark Moosic (a true professional) have repeatedly mentioned to the LCCCA board the possibility of scheduling sporting events and public performances, neither of which are practical given the design of the convention hall barn.

I believe these comments are nothing more than fiction designed to make the LCCCA board feel better about the extremely limited facility that they are stuck with.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stockyard site would have been better

Among my early observations was that the Convention Center should NEVER be built adjoining a residential neighborhood, particularly (in the case of Lancaster) in an area which contributes greatly to the crime stats.

Ah, the Stockyard site would have been so much better.

Editor's note: Best of all would have been to have upgraded the Brunswick, thus accomplishing for $30 million that for which we are spending almost $200 million, and putting Lancaster Square to good use.

July Sunday News Article "Propaganda"

I unexpectedly stumbled onto some extremely significant information regarding a past Sunday News propaganda piece supporting the hotel and convention center project.

On Sunday, July 22, 2006, the Lancaster Sunday News printed an article titled "Sun shines bright on KY city" and sub-titled "Lancaster's effort for a convention center mirrored in Covington". This article went on to describe a successful convention center in Covington, KY, a city about the size of Lancaster that just happens to be directly across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.

As was noted at the time the article was published, Covington's convention center is an easy walk across a bridge from downtown Cincinnati....

Cincinnati does have a convention center. In 2001, vicious race riots broke out in the area immediately surrounding the Cincinnati convention center as a result of a number of black residents being killed by white police officers. According to Wikipedia, to this day the level of violence in Cincinnati remains high.

The race riots were followed by an organized boycott of Cincinnati downtown businesses, which is still in effect. This boycott specifically includes the convention center.

As a result, many of the conventions which would otherwise have scheduled an event in Cincinnati have relocated to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, which is less than a mile and a half from the Cincinnati convention center.

I was also told there is grossly insufficient parking in the immediate area of the Cincinnati convention center. But the Covington convention center has a large parking garage immediately adjacent to the facility, along with hundreds of parking spaces on surface lots surrounding the convention center.

This information paints the Sunday News propaganda story in an entirely different light.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Not One Successful Home Rule Government

From the beginning of the Home Rule Committee formation, I went to my source and asked for an explanation of this form of government. Critics are on the money when they suggest that this all was brought about by Lancaster Newspapers and I would add the Chamber and Dale High.

Lancaster County is too stubborn and political to vote this in.

What we need is five Commissioners as we are now a Class 2 County and may be forming a health department.

My source can not come up with one successful Home Rule form of government, and those that had it are now back to elected forms.

As Shad said in the Side by Side section of the Lancaster Post, it is not broken, it does not need fixed AND it will cost double.

A sad part of this is that our past Executive who was top flight, Mark Esterbrook, was a great asset and had wonderful foresight. Who will replace him is going to be a very important. I shudder to think what a Dale High / Chamber favored Home Rule Board would do to this County. I may have to relocate.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Praises Anti-Home Rule Editorial

It is possible that the whole home rule idea started when the Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. was running into challenges from the commissioners.

Now that the challenges have been diverted, the home rule concept is no longer as pressing for the LNP so they can take an objective view.

The criticism in the editorial seems sound.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I wish everyone could have heard students talk about how some will profit from the Convention Center. (It was wildly amusing!)

The street criminals are looking forward to the CC opening. They are confident that the visitors will be easy pickin's, and with the street configurations and residences near the CC, they are confident that eluding the police will be easy.

A student talked about someone who is already planning to steal CD players and equipment from cars from the visitors. She kept saying "It's a great the wrong place... They [the robbers] can't wait for it to open"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Criticizes Lancaster Post for "Crossings" cartoon

Lancaster desperately needs other avenues to disseminate the alternative views in local affairs, but that avenue needs to develop a reputation as fair, professional, and neutral (my opinion)....

A case in point, the Crossing article while providing valid info, was seriously tainted by the editorial cartoon. Although such cartoons have their place, it is not attached to a specific article trying to give other points of view. (again, my opinion.) Additionally, in this case, it was not accurate and did a disservice to the two commissioners that voted to NOT move this project forward.

I personally hope the Post or other media outlets, such as your website, can be developed to compete with the “monopoly” newspaper.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hospital Nurses Complacent

In regard to Lancaster General Hospital, there is a notable sense of complacency not only among the nurses, but also observed by the efforts of the physical and occupational therapists, respiratory therapists and even the x-ray technicians. This change in approach to patient care had been noted ever since the new administration (Mr. Beeman as CEO) had taken over at LGH ...

This notable difference in behaviors of the LGH Staff forebodes a future of monopolistic healthcare in Lancaster County. In the (not so distant) future, the LGH/Ephrata Community Hospital merger will continue to reign supreme and the failures of Lancaster Regional Medical Center and Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center are bound to continue.