Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Very weary

This anonymous comment really got me down:

"Are you saying that Elaine should not have to contribute at all to her defense? You say that she has not received donations to cover round I. Should other people pay for her entire defense? I think she has received enormous financial support from her gofundme effort. People are getting tired of her constant demands for money. 

As far as I know, Amy Castor did not have a gofundme and did not ask anyone for money. I think she spent thousands out of her own pocket.

Elaine CHOSE to pursue this case against the municipality. Amy was dragged into it. Either way, people need to take responsibility for their own actions.

I wish Elaine well and am grateful for her efforts. But she needs to stop laying the financial burden (which you concede is at a very drastic reduced cost) on others.

If people want to contribute to Amy's financial recovery, maybe they could send her a check via her lawyer.
March 31, 2016 at 8:26 PM"

First of all, I was not charged with anything. No citations were issued. I did not commit any crimes or charged with anything. My sin is that the PA Office of Open Records ruled that the information is public, so Mt. Lebanon must comply and provide the information that I requested. Twice. Mt. Lebanon decided to appeal and in so doing, I had to hire an attorney to fight for my rights, all of our rights. 

I have received financial support from thirty people, twenty-two of them are readers of this blog.  I was so discouraged to read the above comment, since I have been maintaining this blog for over four years, and my website will be five years old on April 24. I started these sites to inform our community of the happenings - both good and bad, and to provide a forum so that people have an opportunity to express their opinions. I went from requiring names to accepting anonymous comments. The trolls got the best of me, so I changed the blog to invited readers only. 

In the time that I have had these sites, I have had unexpected visitors at my door, was bullied by "He Who Shall Not Be Named" - also an unexpected visitor, threatened with two lawsuits, and was forced to hire an attorney to protect my assets. Yes, that was my choice, but I don't think that my children should pay the price for their mother expecting transparency from our local governments.

The "hearing" is going to be held on Monday, April 11 in room 705 (7th floor) of the City County Building at 10:00. It will be nothing like the cattle call that Amy Castor had to sit through. This is for the Mt. Lebanon v Gillen litigation only. It is open to the public, so I am hoping to see some friendly and supportive faces there. 

Sorry 8:26 PM, here is where I ask for money. If you haven't contributed and have relied on my website and/or blog for information over the years, please consider contributing to my fund. https://www.gofundme.com/thefightforthertk 


Barbara S. said...

Reply to 8:26 PM

I'm not sure you understand just how much skin Elaine has maintained in the game. As she already said in her response, she has been calling the municipality to account (for better than a decade, I believe), encountering increasingly fortified walls being put up against transparency. It is not normative for the Office of Open Records to rule in favor of the party requesting information through the Right to Know laws, and they have ruled in favor of Elaine, not once but twice! They have found that Mt. Lebanon has no legal justification for denying the disclosure of the information being sought, but Mt. Lebanon has chosen to "stonewall" Elaine, once again. Elaine has a strong legal position; Mt. Lebanon is blowing smoke in front of mirrors. To my recollection, this is the first and only time Elaine has not assumed full financial responsibility for her battles with Mt. Lebanon, and , this is some serious money involved. Remember the difference between the pig and the chicken over the breakfast menu discussion? She has not strong-armed anyone, shamed anyone, or made anyone feel less-than for not participating in donating: she has simply reached out to a group of people who have said that this matter concerns all of us and has given us a chance to make contributions to the cause. We can donate eggs like the chicken; she has had the stress, sleepless nights, and the thousand questions of the pig thinking about sausage. She has not published a list of contributors; has not shunned anyone for having made meager gifts or none at all; or treated anyone with favorism or with distain over responses to the Go Fund Me. This is a chance for people to show more than the support that comes with posting comments--it's a chance to come alongside of someone who has sacrificed time, energy, emotion, and a great deal of her own money to keep all of us informed of the things the municipality would just as soon sweep or keep under the rug. We owe Elaine a great deal more than money can ever repay, and it is sad, really sad, if all you can see is dollar signs. Maybe you should opt-out of the list. You might be happier that way.

Barbara S. said...

Elaine had not mentioned how impactful 8:26's remarks had been until after I wrote my first comment. I can understand something about her present distress, as can anyone who has ever been dragged into court. For everyone else, let me say that the amount of emotional energy that is required as the event is finally about to occur can be quite consuming. This is an event that life just doesn't prepare you for, and it leaves you: second-guessing yourself; rehearsing everything in your head; struggling to keep details straight; fearful of forgetting to tell the attorney something that might (or might not) be key; in angst over what the opposition might do to misstate or to confuse the facts; and uncertain about whether or not the judge will really "get it". Amy needed as much support and encouragement as she would permit us, strangers, to give; Elaine, as our long-time friend, so much the more so. She is in a very lonely place, and this stuff not only dominates waking hours...it follows you to bed. Anyone who cares for Elaine and appreciates her sacrifices for the good of others would be a welcome presence in her life; anyone who has any kind of negative attitude about anything should step back, way back, and hold comments for another time and place.

There is a Nevada ghost town saloon with a sign over the piano reading: "PLEASE DON'T SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER. HE'S DOING THE BEST HE CAN." We've had enough detractors from without--we certainly can't afford to harm in any way one of our most committed.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately 8:26's comment was very hurtful and was also made at a very bad time.

I think everyone else on this blog supports Elaine.

Elaine, I wish you the best of luck at your hearing and with Mt. Lebanon ' s subsequent appeal. Please know that there are many rallying behind you!

Jason Margolis said...

Elaine can and should ask for financial support. People can choose to give or not give. Why would anyone care/object if Elaine asks for support or not? That is petty complaining.

Elaine, I thought this blog was private so no one could be anonymous. How can someone make anonymous comments?

E. T. Gillen said...

No one emailed me to opt out, Jason. They just like to complain.

Anonymous said...

The difference between Amy's case and Elaine's case are like night and day. Amy's was more personal and Elaine's is more anti-government that effects everyone.

For those who are criticizing Elaine and how she is conducting her case, if these same folks would become more pro-active and get involved in how Mt. Lebanon conducts business and how they spend/waste our taxpayer dollars, you would clearly have a different view on things. By pro-active I mean attending commission meetings, get up to the podium and start asking questions. That also means to learn how to file right to know requests to get information every taxpayer needs to know.

Unfortunately, if this done you will discover at least two things in a very short period of time:

#1 Mt. Lebanon likes to play games with right to know requests by withholding/delaying information and repeatedly violates the Sunshine Laws. Ever wonder why the expenditure list isn't available for us to comment on? Heck, Brumfield doesn’t even read them. The only way to obtain how they spend "our" money is to file a right to know request. Just the opposite of what a transparent government should be like.

#2 You will discover how self-serving our public officials are and how they feel entitled to "our" money. Remember, it was manager McGill who earned $105,789 in 2015, has tens of thousands of dollars in benefits paid for by us, but somehow couldn't find $12 to pay for a pancake breakfast. Such a disgrace.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

So, before anyone criticizes Elaine for her actions, do yourself a favor, get involved like she has over the past number of years and learn how this local government works and doesn’t work for us. By doing this, you just might have a different perspective on things.

Nick M.