Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Scott Township is p!$$ed! UPDATED

I got a call tonight from someone who attended the Scott Township meeting. Scott Commissioners couldn't wait to go into Executive Session to discuss what course of action they will be taking next over Twin Hills.

From what I understand, the Scott Township Police Chief, Manager, and Commissioners wanted to meet with their Mt. Lebanon counterparts, but their manager was unavailable and asked Mt. Lebanon to delay hunting in Twin Hills until after they met. Mt. Lebanon would not wait. Scott Township is really pissed!

Scott Township is challenging Mt. Lebanon's position on Twin Hills being open to police only. It is a public park, so if hunting is done by some, it can be done by anyone. Mt. Lebanon is acting like Twin Hills is privately owned, but the Scott Township commissioners aren't buying it. 

A commissioner asked for a "Not In My Yard" sign tonight. I am hoping to get a podcast of the meeting. The link to the Lebo Citizen podcasts are here. Click here if your browser is not compatible with the website.

This is going to get really ugly.

Another shipment arrived today.
Update September 23, 2015 9:12 AM A draft of the agreement which sets forth their mutual understanding as to responsibility of the maintenance of Twin Hills and its police and fire protection, was never executed.


Anonymous said...

Twin Hills Park is the Crown Jewel of the hunting program. Mrs. Logan will not be pleased with this latest development. Could an injunction be on the horizon?

E. T. Gillen said...

I believe one of the commissioners pointed out that our commissioners do not have any control over who will be in the parks. If that is the case, then all of the public spaces are up for grabs. OMG.

Roger D. said...

Our commissioners have devised another poorly planned, poorly executed and poorly managed (if at all) debacle.

When there is absolutely no government oversight, no one to be held accountable of a hunting program in a densely populated area, is that not the definition of anarchy?

In 56 years, I've never seen or heard of a Game Commission officer being in Mt. Lebanon. Even if they are there is no way to police all the acreage. When I saw the ad from that guy in Warren advertising his services, I knew that our clown commission blew it.

Haven't seen anyone at Robb Hollow yet, although they are probably pretty busy on private property.

At least Scott Township has some common sense...

Anonymous said...

I would be demanding to know what monetary and/or political power/promises/hold the elitist few with their precious gardens have over the commissioners.

The result is a needless, neverending, yearly slaughter, putting residents in danger and angering neighboring communities, at the taxpayers' expense.

E. T. Gillen said...

Here is a clue, from a Right To Know that I had filed. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9r_1biKte_bS0liMEtjSVJTZ1k/view?usp=sharing

Barbara was helping to circulate John Bendel's nomination petition. The 4 names mentioned at the bottom of her email are the 4 other core members of "Lebo Deer." Notice that John Bendel wrote that on his municipal email account. That is a no-no. But who is going to challenge him?

Barbara Logan lives in Virginia Manor in Ward 1. She is a former commissioner who pushed for the purchase of Twin Hills Park because she wanted a park in her ward. Barbara is a gardener. She was on the Garden Tour again this year recruiting members to her organization. Barbara was quoted as saying years ago, that the deer must die. "They're going to die anyway." We all will, some day, Babs.

Anonymous said...

Read the second paragraph, Elaine. I find it most interesting.


34 Pa.C.S. §2508 Title 34 http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/34/34.HTM

E. T. Gillen said...

Very interesting, 1:54 PM.
Would one of you legal beagles please check this section on hunting in parks, please?

Roger D said...

Any cross reference to Act 70 property?

Richard Gideon said...

Scott Township's commissioners make an excellent point: The issue is not about deer hunting per se; the issue is about sovereignty.

Back in April of 2013 I wrote to the Mt. Lebanon Commission concerning permitting dogs in Twin Hills. I wanted clarification as to who gets to set the rules for Twin Hills, and why, if Mt. Lebanon wanted the property so badly, didn't they annex it into the municipality. My questions were forwarded to Phil Weis, our solicitor, who responded as follows:

I was asked to respond to your questions about Twin Hills. For convenience, I have put the answers in your email below in Bold. If you have any further questions, please let me know.

1. Am I correct in assuming that in purchasing Twin Hills Park Mt. Lebanon did not acquire sovereignty over it?; in other words, Scott did not cede the land to Mt. Lebanon such that it would now be considered within the boundaries of the Municipality. That is correct. The property remains in Scott.

2. If the land is legally in Scott then would not Scott's laws trump Mt. Lebanon's ordinances? Scott’s ordinances would apply, but they do not necessarily “trump” Mt. Lebanon’s ordinances. In particular, Mt. Lebanon’s park rules continue to apply to Twin Hills. Making an extreme example, suppose someone is murdered in Twin Hills Park. Which police department would have jurisdiction - Mt. Lebanon's or Scott's? The general rule is that a municipal police officer’s jurisdiction is limited to the municipal boundaries. There are exceptions to this general rule that include felonies; hot pursuit; and agreements between municipalities.

3. If Scott's laws are sovereign then would you not have to ask them for a waiver of any ordinance they might have against dogs in their parks? We are in the process of determining exactly what Scott’s rules are. Conversely, if Scott is sovereign and allows dogs in Twin Hills then it would seem to be that Mt. Lebanon can't enforce a "no dogs" law in that area. Mt. Lebanon could enforce this rule in this case based on Mt. Lebanon being the owner of the property.

I also can't understand why Mt. Lebanon would not have negotiated with Scott Township to cede the land to Mt. Lebanon as part of the sale. Very generally, redrawing municipal boundaries is not easy; the statutes allow complete merger and the creation of new boroughs for example, but do not easily allow for a smaller annexation. In any event, court approval and submission to voters is normally required. - although, frankly, it's hard to understand why the Municipality would purchase that land in the first place. But that's more rhetorical than of immediate interest to me.

Again, if you have read this far keep in mind that only the part above that is in BOLD ITALICS is from Mr. Weis - the remaining italic portions are either my questions or comments. And while the "whole thing" back then was about dogs, the central issue of who gets to set the rules is still valid today.

Anonymous said...

How does Home Rule enter into the Hunting realm? Not sure but this may help:
Page 71.
Seems like hunting is exclusive control of PGC. I'm guessing that there are park rules as well. North Park, administered by the county, does not allow hunting unless authorized by Park Dept and I assume authorization requires justification.

One other thing I'm surprised the trib and others have not brought up is the "50% reduction" figure. The town has yet to answer what 50% reduction means and how it is determined.

Lena Horne said...

The section you refer to above, Elaine, is part of the Pa. Game Code. I was excited when I first saw it. (Back in Benner times.) Unfortunately, because of Mt. Lebanon's Home Rule Government, the corresponding section of the Mt. Lebanon Code essentially says that if you get the municipal manager's permission, you can do anything you want. A few of us reviewed this in the past (during Benner's tenure) and David gave it a hard look a couple months ago. Steve Feller has mucho power. I remember thinking how odd that was when I first reviewed our muni. Code.

Lena Horne said...

I cannot be certain without looking at other sections of the Act, but I am guessing that the "hunting in parks" section of the Pa. Code applies only to state parks.

Lena Horne said...

Also, Stacy is the lawyer among us who knows the most about the PA Game Code. I have not discussed this section with her in many months. She may have another take on it.

Lena Horne said...

Under the Mt. Lebo muni code hunting is not permitted in parks without permission from Steve Feller. I wish it weren't so plain and simple.

E. T. Gillen said...

My thanks to Richard Gideon for providing the audio clip of last night's Scott Township meeting. Scott Township's solicitor, Bob McTiernan presented the essence of Scott Township's position on hunting in Twin Hills.

Barbara S. said...

Just read Babs' email exchange with John Bendel (thanks, Elaine @ 1:55 today) and Oh My! If it weren't for this valuable feed-back, we would be totally unaware that we Bambi people have been employing sneering, fact-free tactics. You just never know how other people see you. Anyway, it's no wonder she refused to acknowledge me at the High School event where I greeted her warmly (and I might add sincerely) with: "BABS LOGAN! HOW ARE YOU TONIGHT?" Here I thought she just didn't like me!

Anonymous said...

Other questions come to mind: 1. John Q Taxpayer's taxes go to maintaining our parks. Since the parks belong to The Public, how is the Statute interpreted in regards to our local parks, if our Muni has not signed a lease for the hunters? One would think there should be one and not just a permit. Do the Commissioners think they have a sovereign right to make decisions and spend money for certain pet projects? 2. It has been argued that lower taxed communities demonstrate Increased economic growth, generally speaking, but receive less resources from the state. Higher taxed communities receive more help from the state which which could possibly drive down economic growth. 3. How does spending $$$ out of the taxpayer's pockets affect our local budget overall? 4. Are we spending more $$$ and not developing other economic development items to make ML an affordable place to live the future?

E. T. Gillen said...

Barbara S., I ran into Babs at St. Clair Hospital, waiting for an elevator. She recognized me, but neither of us spoke. Fortunately, she was going up, and I was waiting for a down elevator.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why I continue to be relatively somewhat shocked by these commissioners and their minions, but I am. Brazen.


Anonymous said...

I already planned my outfit for the garden tour next year. I will be wearing the I love Bambi T-shirt!! Elaine, you should sell them!!!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone own a drone?

Lena Horne said...

No. But I know a few.

Anonymous said...

My son is learning to make drones in a club at his new high school. I cannot wait to get a hold of one. I am sorry that his drone won't be ready for a little while but when it is, I am so going to bring it back to Mt Lebanon and hover over every deer-hater's yard. Get ready Lebo: my kid is making his own drone and he likes deer.

Anonymous said...

Hover over a coral or fly around the parks? Deer may not want to be around a drone.