RANTS & RAVES
RANTS because the county commission majority just committed political
suicide, not just for themselves, but possibly also for the whole Democratic
party in Fayette County today. On the heels of knowing that 3,700+ county
registered voters felt disenfranchised enough to sign a petition to put on a
referendum a vote about the county jail, our boy wonders opted to reinstate an
old policy to require citizens to register to speak on county meeting agenda
items by the Thursday before a Tuesday meeting.
While the public's first impulse might be to balk, that part of the minority's new
rule might be a good thing in a round about way, though. Mainly, it will force
them to go to work often enough to have their agenda prepared that far ahead of
time -- no little feat for them. It should also require little details that they can't
seem to master, such as having all job interviews held at least that far ahead of
time and the majority to actually plan for a real professional meeting.
In the long run, what's meant and devised to be a bitch slap from the majority to
stifle the people, will be a much harder rule for they themselves to live by than
for concerned citizens to get an agenda and request to speak by a Thursday.
Meanwhile, RANTS of the laughable kind that they actually blame citizens
speaking at the February 26th special meeting, before the vote on the Mt.
Braddock property, for costing the county time and money lost by having to
cancel the prison board meeting and delay prisoner releases. Lets call it what it
is: childish reaction to being called out on their inappropriate business
transactions and breaches of Sunshine.
RANTS because the majority owns full responsibility with their Einstein idea of
deliberately scheduling that special meeting at 8:30 (remember, the boy
wonders had been working on that land deal for 2 months), arrogantly and
intentionally thinking they could limit public comment, knowing full well that
there already was a 9:15 prison board meeting... In other words, their utter
stupidity and arrogance caused the county to lose money because there was no
prison board meeting and prisoners weren't released on time (if that's even
true). RANTS, also, that today they demand to limit public comment to 30
minutes prior to a meeting, even if 3,700 citizens signed up by a Thursday to
talk on an agenda item the following Tuesday. Prior notice of recording of
meetings must be made, too, the majority commission proclaims! Oh, but
RAVES because we all know that Neuman's 10th installment will have to be a
sensational doosie! (11 Mar 14)
Editor's Note: Toye v Fayette County: OOR Dkt. AP 2014-0260 UPDATE: Received
notice yesterday that the State Office of Open Records emailed the county RTK
officer, concerning the appeal made from here after the county failed to deliver a
RTK answer and then failed to provide one after the 30-day extension it made.
This was the RTK asking whether prisoners are drug tested when they arrive at
the county jail and for the name of the tool used to determine whether a prisoner
is at risk for suicide or drug abuse. While I published those emails previously,
asking for clarification on the county's vague answers on 24 Feb 14, there was
no further contact from the county or state until yesterday. The county RTK
officer yesterday was asked for clarification on when the underlying RTK was
made -- which was 31 Dec 13. (12 Mar 14)
RANTS that the solicitor from the Election Bureau provided quick legal opinion
that the question cannot be put on the spring ballot for voters to decide if the
county should incur $60 millions dollars worth of debt when cheaper means
were blindly ignored. The matter will go before the county election board. Time
for Plans B &C, no? (12 Mar 14)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"We are not giving up and not be silent. I have always believed that this could or would end up in
Dr. Evelyn Hovanec, today, after the no surprise decision came quickly this morning from the
election bureau's solicitor on the ballot referendum
"We will seen an Election Board hearing and use any influence we may have by urging all voters to
ask the May Election candidates 2 questions before they give them their vote: what is their stand
on the new prison issue, and who do they represent -- the people or the political party? If you don't
like their answer, don't give them your vote."
RAVES to readers who have the flexibility of schedule to attend public daytime meetings, who have
offered themselves to be available to attend county commissioners' meetings and "pass the torch,"
so to speak, and read additional text or complete reading someone else's prepared words if the
read message exceeds 3 minutes. Readers whose messages may exceed 3 minutes are asked to
get in touch prior to a Thursday mid-afternoon to be directed to those who volunteer to complete
reading over the message's 3 minute mark. (13 Mar 14)
Editor's note: A source says that the two appraisals that the county needed and discussed needing
to have done at the Feb. 26th special meeting actually were done a day before the special meeting,
on the 25th of February, and came in $50,000 higher than the discussed $1.25 million asking price
from Fay Penn. Yes, there was an incredible land boom in Fayette County in recent years that none
of the rest of us heard about, Mr. Cofchin. (13 Mar 14)
Coming soon here... Some more background information on the chosen land at Mt. Braddock, from the
county redevelopment authority to the state DEP, through the more recent flood and sink hole periods.
"Quote Of The Day"
"For every person who participated in the rally Tuesday at the courthouse, close to 100 people not
present stood with them by signing the petitions. Kickbacks from new construction have to be
damn good for stubborn minds to keep on going with that plan. Daaaaaaaamn good!"
Pete, today at the diner, to Dave
"More than that, Pete. Look at how many people came in here and wanted to sign but it was too late!
Keep writing the letters to the attorney general and FBI."
RAVES that the Herald Standard sent "Jeers" to the county's hiring of someone before the applicant
completed his application and interviewed for the assessor's job. RANTS that the commission
majority ranted the minority commissioner for being outspoken when she learned what really
happened and that the two men killed the messenger and did not act as men should by allowing the
wrong to stand. RANTS because Fayette needs to lose its corrupt reputation, while instances such
as this one only reinforce the image to the max. (14 Mar 14)
RANTS that one political candidate with past experience in office is conducting such an
unprofessional campaign in progress. One elderly county resident, who has never been registered
to vote in his life and signed a candidate's nominating petition, told this editor yesterday that he
was unaware he should not have signed the petition. The candidate never asked him if he's
registered to vote and never asked his political party. The man was not wearing his eyeglasses and,
reportedly, was just told where to sign. (14 Mar 14)
Editor's Note: Curious minds want to know, for sure! Today is the deadline for the county to respond
to the 3-7-14 Right to Know request to learn who from the county released the web address of the
new county jail to the group paying for the newspaper display ad that touted no tax increases, no
Act 13 money, no casino revenue, etc., would be needed to pay for a new $30+ million dollar state of
the art jail plus $30+ million financing. As readers recall, the website mentioned in the display ad
was not previously released information to the public, and the county commish majority stated
publicly on 2-26-14 that they had nothing to do with the ad or the so called group for a better
county. So much drama for a simple answer, true, with just 90 minutes left to the county work week,
is it any wonder the county is a disgrace to create so much extra nuisance work for the state Open
Records Office appeals department these days? (14 Mar 14)
Today's RTK Answer from the county RTK officer: "The web address was not provided to the citizens
by a county official or representative, as the county did not have anything to do with the ad.
Therefore, there is nothing to provide."
While some criticize the newspaper for running the ad, the paper is in the for profit business.
However, if any of us wanted to try to scam people by placing an ad boasting of a cure for all
cancers, lets hope that the paper, rightfully so, would have reported such bogus and criminal
claims to the authorities.
While that particular website is a new one, online only since last month, the
domain, "abetterfayettecounty.com," was registered on November 22, 2012. No
AbetterFayetteCounty.com originates from IP# 188.8.131.52, which hosts a slew of registered
domains, including singles4humanity.com, erotikarkadas.org, sexarkadasim.org, mylocalpub.org,
and jesusapplicado.com. With the exception of the one with Jesus' name, none of the others seem
to be online or still online at this time. To boot, the Bible selling site with Jesus' name is just being
constructed. (14 Mar 14)
Audacious Al's geo-technical wasteland survey RTK: Part I
While Mt. Braddock industrial park businessman Steve Laskey was not flooded this week, water
again flooded his driveway the day before our visit. Here's "Audacious Al's geo-technical wasteland
survey RTK: Part 1", the first in a series on the ongoing problems at the Mt. Braddock Industrial
Park and the county's plan to solve all the problems. (15 Mar 14)
RANTS that the county looked to Franklin County for motivation to build a state of the art prison, but
apparently hasn't kept in touch much with the warden there. Today, that jail housed 429 inmates,
including some federal prisoners, more violent prisoners sentenced for more than 2 years and
prisoners from Fulton County and still had over 50 empty beds. A source at Franklin said today that
Franklin is now also sharing its Day Reporting Center with Fulton, and raking in a whopping $5.87
per day per DRC Fulton participant. Overtime to transport federal prisoners to and from court
proceedings in the state capital cost that county about $355,000 extra in a recent year. So much
wishful thinking for the Citizens for a better Fayette County touting the foolish notion that Fayette
can rake in the revenue by housing out of county prisoners. (15 Mar 14)
RAAAAAAAANTS! With so much said in the past year about a Grand Jury being convened here to
investigate voter fraud, including township supervisors being charged for it, one would think that
arrogant minds would not broach the practice ever again... Well, think again, Fayette County. RANTS
because people in government jobs or informed enough of the law seem to have done despicable
things, such as sign nominating petitions multiple times for multiple candidates, circulate petitions
on paid government work time, and inform signers that there's no rules and anyone, regardless of
political party or registration, can sign those candidate nominating petitions. RANTS because it all
reeks of corruption and warrants an investigation. RANTS because the Election Bureau shouldn't
have to weed through deliberately doctored petitions. How much does that cost the county? The
commissioners who comprise the Election Board should be jumping quickly tomorrow morning to
schedule a meeting to stop it and report those circulating bogus petitions to the DA. Those
circulating petitions at the courthouse or any public-funded government agency on work time,
should be suspended or terminated, especially those new hires in their probational period of
employment. The county's orientation policy manual banning political activity at work should have
been so fresh in their minds that there's noooooooo excuse. (16 Mar 14)
RAVES! With well over a month already into ground breaking and construction process, the county's
jail engineer finally on Friday got its building permit for its new office two days ago. We trust that means
that a resolution to the sewage first issue was found. In honor of that noble effort to do things properly,
another gratis ad is featured here as a public service announcement. (16 Mar 14)
RAVES to the Herald Standard for its editorial today criticizing the commission majority's quest to
limit public speaking at county meetings. I can't agree more that the two men are "treading on some
dangerous grounds" with the policy. Likewise, or even more of a concern is the solicitor's take on
the need to give prior notification that a meeting will be recorded. The solicitor isn't doing his job
adequately, either, by not being assertive enough to protect the county from lawsuits because the
commission majority doesn't know what they're doing in too many procedural and protocol
situations. For instance, if the minority commissioner had been absent on February 26th, would the
solicitor have spoken up and stopped the commish chair from wanting to delay people waiting to
speak on the sole agenda item until after the vote? If the minority commissioner had not been
present, can we see a show of hands of those who believe the solicitor would have allowed the
vote to take place by 8:45 and the prison board to convene as scheduled, by 9:15 that morning? The
majority commissioners are treading on shakey ground and the solicitors seem not to be informed
or assertive enough to stop them from putting the county at such risk. (16 Mar 14)
RAVES to the Hopwood gentleman for today's letter to the editor in the local paper. Note that the
name Steven Walton is unfamiliar to me, and that he is not part of the Referendum Group, nor any
previously familiar speaker at public meetings. However, RAAAAAAAAVES to him for penning a letter
over the uneasy feeling he received reading through the agenda for tomorrow's county meeting.
RAVES, too, for reading the agenda in the first place, and caring enough about local government to
do so. Mr Walton takes offense to the shameful breach of the Sunshine Act with the pending
resolution, motion and vote the county majority commissioners seem ready to roll with tomorrow to
limit free speech. RANTS because those two men have no idea what kind of can of worms they
opened just to bitch slap those of us openly opposed to building an all-new jail or pointed out that
the commish chair was caught in lies. They rather would like to continue on with the myth that we
want nothing done. No, we want alternate options explored -- i.e., step up alternate sentencing
programs, redo of the historic jail we have and add an addition annex or those portable buildings
that the minority commissioner suggested as a quick alternative to paying out the wazoo for out of
county cage rentals, etc. Nonetheless, RAVES to Mr. Walton for saying that his right to free speech
is so valuable to him that he would tag his name to his thoughts in a classy letter to the editor. (18
Universal Well Services VIP comments favorably
on land for proposed jail site: RTK Part II
Only because the BAE building on Route 119 coincidentally became available, Universal Well
Special Projects Director Mike Kloecker said today his company abandoned its plan to purchase the
same land that the county now wants to buy for a jail.
"We were in the process of buying (the land) from Fay Penn and the BAE building that became
available was a better fit," he said. Universal intends to purchase and expand its operation into the
existing former BAE building in the next year.
"It met our needs," Kloecker said of the building left vacant when BAE closed its doors last year.
Asked if the August 19, 2013 report from Construction Engineering Consultations, Inc. that
Universal had paid for and had done on the Fay Penn land still for sale was any consideration to
stop the purchase process, Kloecker said not in any way was Universal discouraged by the report
and would be building there if BAE hadn't closed and its building had not become available.
"I was all over that land for 2 years," he said of the land now being proposed as a new county jail
site. He said he never saw sink holes or any concerns that would have caused Universal to rethink
Kloecker said he was aware of flooding issues in other parts of the park, but was unaware of any
sewage back up issues that other businesses in the industrial park may have had. He thought that
the lower end of the park was always considered to be wetlands and seemed surprised to hear that
part of Steve Laskey's property now has wetlands status that prevents him from expanding his
business and that there is documentation that the property wasn't considered to be wetlands prior
to purchase. He was assured that sewage back ups and flooding, indeed, have been problems at
the other end of Mt. Braddock Road.
Kloecker said a sewage pump station was put in near the Universal buildings when his company
moved into the industrial park. Universal, he said, has not experienced any type of problems with
the land or sewage. Kloecker didn't seem to mind that the county issued a report that his company
paid for in 2013 under RTK for the land the county wants to buy from Fay Penn for a jail. He offered
no negative comment on having a prison as a neighbor for his company.
Who's to say, though, how he would feel each time ground is broken if his company were located
farther down Mt. Braddock Road, where Laskey's business repeatedly floods whenever more than
one inch of rain falls in a day. (17 Mar 14)
Editor's Note: While Kloecker was unaware that any business in the industrial park had
experienced sewage back ups and that old documents are in hand that show no wetlands
were present in the industrial park decades ago before development began, other persons
besides Laskey also have been in touch to tell their sewage nightmare stories at the
industrial park. Coming soon will be more on all of that, in RTK: Part III.
Now just where is our fair share
of due diligence?
RANTS that the county's fair share of "due diligence" is long overdue. Today, the county
commission majority voted to approve the purchase of 58 acres of land for a jail for $1.25 million
dollars. This vote follows the special meeting on February 26, when a motion was passed to enter
into negotiations with Fay Penn for the land. RANTS that the commission majority admitted today
that there were no negotiations since the special meeting 20 days ago. Still, the majority voted to
approve the purchase.
Due diligence has been a commonly uttered term coming from the mouth of the commish chair, but
does he really comprehend its meaning? No.
Of all the possible definitions, Merman-webster dictionary's points out a logical explanation for why
there is no comprehension of the meaning. That dictionary defines due diligence as "the care that a
reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property," and "research and
analysis of a company or organization done in preparation for a business transaction.
Other definitions, of course, include "the process of systematically researching and verifying the
accuracy of a statement. the goal of the process is to ensure that all stake holders associated with
a financial endeavor have the information they need to assess risk accurately. All that said, perhaps
what's lacking here in Fayette County, is that "reasonable" person in the mix.
Fayette County Commission Chairman Al Ambrosini clearly demonstrated twice today that he cannot
stay focused on the issue at hand and that there's something inherently wrong there. When one
citizen asked during public comment about a situation, when someone less qualified with political
connections was hired over someone more qualified who had been told he had the job, Ambrosini
clearly was somewhere out there but not clearly at the table with his cognitive abilities. He started
to go somewhere else in his mind, totally off subject, to talk about when he and Fay Penn started
wheeling and dealing last year for jail land. He stopped only when the minority commissioner
redirected him back.
His inability to stay focused is troubling. That Commissioner Vince Zapotosky doesn't seem to catch
some of Ambrosini's mistakes is equally troubling. It's all so surreal watching it play out.
That they won't be in office too much longer is no comfort or consolation. They don't want to
terminate a human resource contractor for telling a qualified person he's hired, only to hire
someone else less qualified with political ties instead. They don't seem to be able to follow routine
county business in a meeting, even during an initial hour or so of it. They don't get it. They just don't
get it... and we, as a result, don't get our county's fair share of due diligence at all. (18 Mar 14)
Fayette County Prison Not Mentioned in
state's worst county jail article
A recent lengthy article, from "Prison Legal News," about the state's worst county jails and Fayette's
county jail is not mentioned. Well, the jail itself is not highlighted, but brief mention is made of a
former staff going on to work elsewhere in the state prison system and being criminally charged for
abusing prisoners there.
Except for that brief mention, however, Fayette's 126-year-old lock up did not come up when
conditions were described. When the headline was first noticed online, before opening the link to
read, I presumed that I would be reading nothing but about Fayette County's jail. Nope.
RAVES for that much of a pleasant surprise to find the article was not about the historic jail here.
Please take the time to read it, because the story does reference the health care company
contracted here to provide medical services for prisoners and the way too many problems that
county jails have had as a sad consequence. (18 Mar 14)
RANTS that the county commish chair gavels away when he thinks a citizen makes a remark which
he feels is a personal attack, yet he does not lead by example. He can't seem to resist making a
personal jab or two at citizens and seems to delight in doing so. As he listened to one citizen say
that he knocked on every door in Mt. Braddock and businesses there and all people unanimously
were opposed to the jail being built there, Commissioner Ambrosini could not resist naming the
only one property owner in Mt. Braddock the man did not approach. Ambrosini could have made his
point that the owner of the land next door to the man speaking approves of the jail being located in
his back yard. The personal attack on the citizen was avoidable, as the commissioner could have
got his point across without naming the man who was once involved in a lawsuit against the citizen
speaking. RANTS that the commish chair cannot lead by example. (18 Mar 14)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"All we heard about that long stretch of 119 for years is that a store like Lowe's was buying the hotel
once sewage was put in over there. Why didn't the big box stores ever want to buy land around
Laurel Mall for it?
Pete, to Dave, at the diner this morning
"What business will want to move in to the industrial park once a county jail and probably the next
methadone clinic are put there?"
"The park has already lost 4 businesses because nobody fixed the flooding. That Steve Laskey own
at the end of Mt. Braddock Road will need his building put up on stilts once construction starts on
Unidentified man sitting at a nearby table from the counter, as he stood to leave
"You don't suppose that guy is Neuman?"
Pete, asking Dave
Joan surely jests by saying she rarely speaks
Rants that there wasn't a second to the motion to have a 5th public meeting last fall when citizens
asked for one with Tom Crabtree. Today's letter to the editor in the Herald Standard from Joan
Shaffer of Vanderbilt clearly demonstrates why the county commission majority was, and still is,
negligent for not holding a 5th public meeting last fall with Tom Crabtree. Writes Ms. Shaffer today,
lambasting anyone opposed to building an all-new jail, "This group talks about the taxpayer dollars
that will be spent over the next 30 years to pay for this facility. Yet, they never mention the $1.2 million
Fayette County taxpayers spent alone last year to house Fayette County prisoners in other facilities."
Yes, Ms. Shaffer, some have been very vocal about the truly shameful amount of money county
leaders literally have misspent, because they have not pushed for alternate sentencing programs
and deliberately delayed the opening of a women's annex in 2013 and this far into 2014. Some of us
have even suggested the majority commissioners be surcharged for that expense because it could
have been avoidable.
Ms. Shaffer must not have been present at the public hearings last fall or caught Crabtree's
repeated reference to the fact that our county leaders chose not to factor into costs what to do with
the current jail if an all new facility is built. That Crabtree repeated that message in an uneasy
fashion translated that he's usually accustomed to combining the projects and sent red flags up
here that he thought it important enough to point out and state -- i.e., as to excuse himself later
from blame when taxpayers got the bill for that separate project.
Shaffer can't realize all these factors when she throws support for an all new jail. As mentioned late
last September to the controller, when he said to me that the jail would be used to store paperwork
when the new jail opened, how would OSHA approve or grandfather in the historic jail that we
cannot tear down for another workplace that's not ADA accessible once it's no longer a jail? State
safety representatives have confirmed that suspicion here. So why not sink some money into the
current jail and add on out back using an alternate plan that those loud, vocal people Shaffer
criticizes devised or the other alternate plan that the minority commissioner thought of, using
preconstructed buildings that the state prisons use to cut building time and costs? Or perhaps Ms.
Shaffer can think of a more cost effective solution in her own backyard for us. I'd love to hear it. We
all would have loved to have heard alternate plans, but the county commission majority stopped all
discussion in their stubborn, foolish, negligent way. (19 Mar 14)
Editor's Note: Ms. Shaffer is the sister of Commissioner Al Ambrosini's campaign manager, the
manager of the county airport with a CDL license. Shaffer in 2012 spoke out in favor of Uniontown
Hospital getting a behavioral health care contract with the county and spoke out against Highlands
Hospital for having to transfer her personal care home patients out of county for psych admissions,
when in reality (as per RTK county obtained records here) the Connellsville facility had no psych
beds available only 41 times from 1/2010 through 6/2012, over 2,080 psych admissions.
Not bad for someone who says she is quiet and doesn't like to speak her mind, eh? Oh, and in 1992,
Shaffer contributed $200 to the Ken Burkley for congress committee. (Burkley was Ambrosini's
$4,000/mo interim solicitor choice, just terminated yesterday, after earning $72,000 from Fayette
County for doing, well, essentially, nothing much). Shaffer more recently contributed $1,000 to
Ambrosini's last political campaign. Honestly, we really can't make this stuff up here!
RANTS that a coal mine may be acting as a sump pump at the Mt. Braddock Industrial Park. Here's
Part III of the series: How much public money has been spent on this
industrial park wasteland? Please read the engineering report raising the possibility of a
mine currently serving as a sump pump under businesses, documentation of the water flow to Gist
Run being altered without documentation of a DEP permit, resulting in man made wetlands, photos
of flooding and floating trailers on industrial park land and nobody but one official and a few
frustrated industrial park business owners wanting to come to the table to talk... all next door to the
site of the proposed new county jail and miracle treatment facility. Commissioners have been asked
to comment on this engineering report and information. (20 Mar 14)
Following the deadline to challenge candidate nominating petitions, expect to hear that a group of
citizens has challenged enough nominating petitions to get one or two big race candidates tossed
off the ballot for the primary election. RANTS to those who circulate petitions for office who scoff at
the rules and make a mockery of the election process. Sometimes, an innocent candidate is booted
off for the actions of others, and sometimes the candidates who knowingly break and mock the
rules slide through anyway with the required number. As per sources, hearings are scheduled in a
few weeks, unless one or
Election Board misses deadline to hold public
hearing to accept or reject referendum
The county commission majority, who comprise two-thirds of the county's Election Board, opted to
thumb their noses at the Sunshine Act, county resolutions in regard to referendums, the Sunshine
Act and citizens' due process by rejecting outside a public hearing the Referendum Group's
request for a referendum.
"A public hearing of the Election Board was to occur by March 18 for the purpose of accepting or
rejecting the Referendum Petition. Instead, you deliberated and decided to reject the Referendum
Petition outside of a public hearing and you directed the Election Bureau to take no additional
action other than to inform the Petitioners (prison referendum group) your decision,"
Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink wrote today to Commissioners Al Ambrosini and Vince Zapotosky.
In her correspondence today to them, she cited a formally adopted 2012 procedural outline for
referendum petitions and Election Board hearings, and noted that it states that "determining
whether questions will be placed on the ballot are subject to the requirements of the Sunshine Law
and must be conducted at a public meeting."
She also provided documentation here that she provided dates of her availability to conduct a
public hearing after the petition filing date 9 days ago, when the Referendum Group and supporters
hand delivered petitions signed by 3,700 citizens wanting voters to have a choice on the spring
ballot to decide whether to approve the commission majority's plan to build an all new jail or
explore alternative, more cost effective solutions. RANTS that the commission majority arrogantly
and wrongly decided to blow off the hearing. More to follow. It is noted, too, that as of today, the
Referendum Group has received nothing from the majority commissioners or Election Bureau in
this matter about scheduling a hearing. The group, however, sent notification today to the Election
Bureau that the Election Board did not meet its requirement to hold a public election board hearing
to accept or reject the petitions for referendum. Time to do the happy dance, kids?
RANTS that the county majority commission and prison work group lacked common courtesy to send
their regrets to cancel or a representative in person on behalf of the county to appear at this
evening's thrice rescheduled zoning variance hearing at the city office for the Iowa Street property.
A source this evening said that the city zoning board met for the rescheduled zoning variance
hearing and was stood up by all players. (20 Mar 14)
County jail ad hoc committee: more putridly
hypocritical and ass kissing than ever
RANTS of the most putrid, hypocritical kind to the county jail ad hoc work group. Today's "Fayette
Justice and Rehabilitation Center again on track," in the Herald Standard has them all talking out of
both sides of their mouths. As advocates for the prisoners detained since 2012, when this ad hoc
committee formed, they've failed prisoners in unforgivable, despicable ways, while using the
prisoners as pawns to promote an all-new jail.
If the group, largely comprised of county paid employees, really gave a rat's ass about the
prisoners, and if they really wanted to help the prisoners reduce recidivism, the ad hoc committee
would have put the prisoners' welfare first, 16 months ago by insisting change had started
RANTS that their first recommendation wasn't to move jail administrative offices out of the jail and
into nearby buildings to create space for treatment, education and worship, vocational training.
RANTS that the ad hoc committee wasn't screaming to immediately open an annex to reduce over
crowding and why it didn't convene immediately to question how another suicide happened.
RANTS that the warden's refusal to allow an inmate work program because it, in his opinion, only
allows contraband to be brought into the jail. RANTS that the ad hoc work group committee was
shamefully comfortable each time the prison administration issued an "I don't know" RTK answer,
when asked how many non-violent prisoners were incarcerated who could qualify for veteran's
court, treatment court, the day reporting venter or work release. RANTS that the ad hoc committee
wasn't rattling cages to and telling the jail administration to get the answers and telling the warden
to shove his refusal to let the inmate work program to be restarted.
RANTS that all these people blindly promote all these treatment services as having to wait at least
another 21 months to be implemented. RANTS that they took their lead from the county commish
chair to ignore, with benign neglect, alternate sentencing programs to reduce over crowding.
RANTS that they are using the prisoners as pawns, to promote an all-new jail, and that they are
allowing themselves to be used as pathetic pawns to hold out on helping people until a new jail is
They're not positive advocates for the prisoners or tax payers and they need to stop pretending to
be. God, they make me sick! (21 Mar 14)
Wonder if the "Citizens for a better Fayette County" read
about the ballot challenge in the paper today and blinked?
RANTS because it appears that a chief of staff for a state house of representative -- who the county
commission majority in 2012 appointed to a county board -- reportedly circulated candidate
nominating petitions for an unknown person running for state senate, yet failed to put her county
residential address on the notarized circulator petition. How could she in her positions forget such
a basic, important detail?
RANTS because another person also listed as a circulator for that same unknown candidate, who
also failed to include a home address, has such an infamously familiar name. Is he really out of jail
for a 1990s cold blooded murder yet? Possibly.
RANTS because either some unknown wanna be candidate, all on her own devised such an evil
plan to use bogus circulators' names -- especially since family members of an opposing candidate in
the same senate race are also listed as circulators for the unknown woman running for office. Or
are the circulators really who they claim to be?
Either way, RANTS that this cheap, political child's game and mess ends up costing time and money
for a Grant Street, Pittsburgh hearing on April 8 -- i.e., unless the unknown, wanna be candidate
drops out of the race prior to that date.
RANTS for the mockery of the political system all the way around! RAVES to the citizens who bravely
stepped forward to make themselves sitting ducks for criticism and ridicule, for daring to object to
the mockery that it appears some have chosen to try to make the election process be. What a
shameful disgrace for anyone involved to be part of any campaign, with 424 signatures of 582 that
are said to be invalid or in need of being set aside.
I so hope the "Citizens for a Better Fayette County" read the paper today.
These senate race petition gatherers seem to be the kinds of people who needs to be singled out
and attacked in paid ads for giving the county a corrupt and bad name, not a wholesome group of
3,700 who want the best jail value for public tax dollars! (23 Mar 14)
Editor's Note: The Office of Open Records has dismissed the appeal filed here to learn if prisoners
are drug tested in the county lock up. No kidding! The moral of the story is to file an appeal timely, if
the Right to Know answer is not provided in the 5 days. When the county says it needs an additional
30 days to reply on the 5th day, file the appeal. Don't be a nice person and delay the appeal till that
30 days extension passes and there's still no answer. File on the 6th day. RANTS that the warden did
give a vague reply once the state appeal was filed, but there's still no simple yes or no answer. Only
in Fayette would it be that much like pulling teeth to get a simple answer to a simple question! (24
RAVES to getting chuckles reading the paper whenever one can find them. Today, chuckles,
indeed, were found in a regular classified ad in the local paper looking for a reporter. No, it was not
one of this column's lampoon-type ads, but a real ad looking for someone who has a "visceral
distaste for office politics and gossip." Good luck with that, guys, and, again, thanks so much for the
laugh. (26 Mar 14)
Dazed & Confused majority racks up another $180K in cage rentals,
plus $1.2 M from 2013, pissing around, doing nothing since 11/12 auction
Since the county commish chair went to the late 2012 auction looking to buy an annex building for
female prisoners to ease jail overcrowding and reduce out of county cage rentals, the majority
commission still has not followed through with a passed motion to advertise again for property for a
temporary annex. Instead, they prefer to whine about the cost of out of county rentals already
reaching $180K for 2014. Fayette in 2013 approved only half the number of Day Reporting Center
slots that other counties approved when those programs opened elsewhere. RANTS that the dazed
and confused majority is truly oblivious to the fact that they are the very pathetic reason why
another $180,000 is wasted here in 2014 and there is still no real rehabilitation going on in Fayette
to reduce recidivism. (27 Mar 14)
Prison Referendum Group opts to throw ballot
referendum into the Court of Common Pleas
The Prison Referendum Group today began the process of filing a petition with the county
prothonotary to throw the ballot referendum into court. This action follows the Fayette County
Election Board missing its deadline of March 18 to hold a public hearing on the Referendum
Group's request to add a referendum to the spring primary election ballot, allowing county voters to
decide if the county should incur a $60 million dollar or more debt for an all new jail.
Last week, Commission Chairman Al Ambrosini decided outside a public meeting not to hold an
Election Board hearing on the matter, and the next day, Commissioner Vince Zapotosky agreed.
The Referendum Group is in the process of preparing the matter for Motions Court, hopeful that a
judge will agree that the Election Board missed its deadline to hold a hearing, and that, as a result,
the referendum should appear on the ballot.
The case of the group of retired folks, who in a few days got 3,700 petition signatures backing them
to take on the fiscally challenged local government, is attracting interest across the state. Much
more to come. (27 Mar 14)
"Quote Of The Day"
"What's sad to me is that Ambrosini, Zapotosky and Zimmerlink adopted the outline for referendum
petition requirements and regulations of the county election board at an election board hearing in
2012. It should have been pretty fresh in all of their minds, you know. It wasn't as though Fred wrote
it 99 years ago, for goodness sake!"
Pete, at the diner this morning, still in awe that the majority commissioners missed the March 18th
deadline to hold a public Election Board hearing to approve or reject the Referendum Group's
request with 3,700 signature petitions, to add the referendum to the spring election ballot to let the
voters have a say in the prison matter
"Ambrosini a moment later couldn't even remember the question someone just asked him at the
last meeting. Why would you think he could recall something he adopted in 2012?"
Dave, in follow up
RANTS, for what seems to be an especially noble commentary piece on today's Trib's editorial page,
quoting Patrick Henry, dedicated to "the vigilant, the active, the brave," who "truly do have the
power to force transperency and accountability" to government... loses its meaning when you
consider that not one of the paper's writers in 10 days has bothered to track down a majority county
commissioner here to ask why a public hearing was not held, to reject or approve the Referendum
Group's request to have its binding referendum question placed on the spring election ballot.
RANTS because "the vigilant, the active and the brave" certainly do not seem to matter much
otherwise in the paper these days. (28 Mar 14)
RAVES to the wonder of nature, as thick snow falls this spring morning, while temps are supposed
to reach the high 60s tomorrow, for a sunny, beautiful opening day of baseball season. Go figure!
(30 Mar 14)
RAVES that so many concerned readers thought of the Mt. Braddock Industrial Park Laskey family
business, when the forecast of several days of rain was first announced yesterday. The full email
inbox here this morning demonstrates how wonderful people are who wrote to say they have said
prayers that Laskey and other businesses there aren't flooded again this week. If the old mine is
acting as a sump as engineers believe is possible, the mine could get filled to capacity in these
next few days. Since the water can't get to Gist Run from north of the railroad tracks down to the
southern end of the park, where Steve and Natalie Laskey have their restaurant machine business,
please say a prayer that the weather forecasters are wrong and that the heavy rains soon end. (2
"Quote Of The Day"
"Without a legal notice saying the county was considering borrowing $9.5 million to make ends meet
in December, the county borrowed $9.5 million and never paid anything on the debt and didn't
contribute to the county pension fund. In January, the county (wanted to) borrow another $10
million tax exempt loan for costs connected with a CYS addition, a new jail and a womens' annex.
OK, geniuses, it's now April and we haven't heard anything more about the CYS addition or the
annex. If we had an open government in Fayette County, we might know what the heck gives here!"
Pete today at the diner, talking to himself, since Dave has the flu
Fayette spends $84K for Ambrosini to learn the meaning of
RANTS that in March of 2012, the county commish chair told the Herald Standard, "We have such a
horrendous problem with lawsuits. We absolutely have to do something to address it. We have to take a
To remedy the "horrendous" problem, he hired a Westmoreland attorney, a litigation guru of sorts,
and paid him over $84,000 to prepare a report to improve the "horrendous" problem that he said
Fayette had with lawsuits.
Now all these 25 months later, the same paper today quoted the Westmoreland guru attorney's
report that took 22 long months to package and prepare. We paid a whopping $84,000 for the guru
to teach the county commish chair that his take on "horrendous," more realistically actually
translates to mean "no remarkable difference among data points for rural, southwestern
Pennsylvania counties, as the volume of lawsuits is fairly low and legal costs per capita are
RANTS that someone who does not know the true meaning of horrendous is making horrendous
county decisions. (2 Apr 14)
Correction: Thanks to the courthouse source who corrected the amount of the former interim solicitor's
contract, from a low $72,000 as previously stated yesterday, to the actual $84,000 total. I stand
corrected! (3 Apr 14)
Will there ever be Sunshine?
County keeps looking at property without advertising for
temporary prison annex
RANTS because today's local paper is proof positive that the county majority commissioners
continue to violate the Sunshine Act and negotiate in private, for property not owned by the county,
for a temporary prison site. RANTS that the county continues to rack up engineering and design
bills, property appraisal bills, zoning hearing filing fees and whopping out of county cage rental
tabs since the county first went shopping for a temporary prison annex building in November of
RANTS that the county is still no farther ahead and is only so much farther in debt. RANTS because
both the county jail ad hoc committee and the Fayette County Airport Authority, which owns the
airport, met in recent weeks. Only today in the paper, meanwhile, does the public learn that old
buildings at the airport are now being considered as a temporary jail annex site.
Meanwhile, have any of the ones so carelessly and freely spending public money even bothered to
count the number of non-violent prisoners who qualify for Day Reporting Center, veterans or
My God, are they all on crack or what? (4 Apr 14)
Editor's Note: The Referendum Group has now filed for a Common Pleas court hearing with the
Prothonotary and with the Court Administrator/Motions Court. Film at 11.
"Quote Of The Day"
"Why are a county commissioner from Connellsville and a reporter from Connellsville the only
persons around who don't know that the city of Connellsville deeded over the land to the airport
authority board and that the county of Fayette never owned it and still don't own it?"
Dave, today at the diner, adding that all of the property and buildings listed on Airport Road and Sky
Road are owned by the airport authority
"That Al didn't know that, now that's horrendous!"
Pete, in response
RAVES, once again, to readers, who in amazingly large number, have written to ask for follow up in
the Mt. Braddock Industrial Park flooding. As of Friday evening, the Laskey business had sitting
muddy water, up to the front of the building. Today, he relayed that no water or mud made it inside
the business. However, tomorrow's forecast calls for a steady downpour most of the day. However,
no sense in Laskey power scrubbing Friday's mud from the front, with more likely coming tomorrow.
(6 Apr 14)
"Quote Of The Day"
"...your government is only as good as you help to make it. Keep engaged. Don’t become
discouraged. Continue to do your part, and continue to make us do our part."
Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, in a commentary/letter to editor, today's Herald Standard
Editor's Note: Here's Part 4 in the series about the Mt. Braddock Industrial Park
flooding: Is Zimmerlink being too nice to propose Act 13 money correct man-
Zapotosky says one thing, means,
RANTS that Commissioner Vince Zapotosky just recently said he didn't want to limit citizens from
speaking at public meetings. Really, yes, he did say that at the last county meeting and there's
video to support it. Today, however, there was a motion to add to the next meeting an agenda item
to do just the opposite. So much for Zapotosky meaning what he says, eh?
RANTS that the commission majority tried to pull a fast one on the public and seems to delight in
doing so. There was no mention of the public comment policy on Friday's proposed agenda list,
ditto for yesterday's proposed agenda item list. However, the proposal to limit speakers to 3 or 2
minutes, to limit total public comment to 30 minutes and to give discretion to the commish chair to
determine if someone is inappropriate was included on the list of agenda items presented at the
meeting today. Please click here to read the item that will be voted on soon. RANTS of shame on the
county commish chair, who clearly demonstrates that he cannot control a meeting or provide
answers, or even answer the right question asked of him. RANTS that professionals can be such
bullies! (8 Apr 14)
Candidate booted from ballot
Rose Ambrosino of Uniontown was removed from the ballot at a hearing today in Pittsburgh's
Commonwealth Court. She was running as a Democrat for the nomination for state senate in the
32nd State Senatorial District, the seat currently held by retiring Sen.Richard Kasunic. While
Ambrosino did not appear at today's hearing, the county election bureau director testified that a
total of 181 of her 582 signatures were invalid.
While there is some agreement to a local editorial recently criticizing signature gathering process
as being unfair to new candidates, the process of requiring a specific number of petition signatures
should be abandoned also because the vast majority of candidates or persons circulating
nominating petitions, quite frankly, cheat.
It doesn't take a handwriting expert to view petitions of most candidates, whether they're
newcomers or long-time incumbents, and notice that the same hand wrote several signatures one
after another, on almost every petition for most offices in the next race. The cheating is so wide-
spread, and so often, not at all challenged that the process is a mockery of what democracy is
meant to be. (8 Apr 14)
Dazed & Confused trying to get prison referendum matter
out of courts, back to election board vote
RANTS that the county election board missed its deadline on March 18 to hold a hearing about the
Referendum Group's petitions. The board majority last month violated its own protocol and
Sunshine Act by arrogantly making the decision in private. Violated, too, were the due process
rights of citizens.
RANTS, too, in the adding insult to injury vein, to reading in today's Herald Standard that
Commission Chairman Al Ambrosini now -- i.e., now that the Referendum Group petitioned motions'
court to address the election board's failure to meet -- says he's trying to schedule an election
board meeting to "meet and officially take care of it."
Why does Ambrosini now want to meet in public after he made his decision in private to "take care
of it," as he phrases it?
Is he that afraid that the court will determine the referendum must go on the ballot because the
election board met in private to say no to it? Is he afraid that members of the Referendum Group or
the thousands who signed the petitions will sue for violation of due process rights?
Will he really use the half ass excuse that the public meeting room is so heavily scheduled that the
election board couldn't have met there by the March 18th deadline? Will he use that lame excuse
and hope that people aren't smart enough to ask, gee, was there an empty court room that could
have been used?
Nah, he's that worried that the courts would rule the referendum goes on the ballot because the
election board met in private to squash it. (9 Apr 14)
"Quote Of The Day"
"Has anyone driven over to the airport lately? They already had little marker flags up to tag hangers
to tear down for the women's jail annex. Can you believe that! They were ready to tear down and
build new thinking the county owns the airport. Please tell me that the lunatics aren't running the
Pete. today at the diner
"They control more than just the asylum, Pete!"
Dave, in response
RANTS to having to send your child off to school, the day after another senseless mass attack, with
the only consolation that the violence can't happen at his school since his has a metal detector and
guard at its front entrance. (10 Apr 14)
RANTS that the city of Uniontown pathetically missed the boat on a million dollar streets
improvement grant because emails to the former administrator from the state transportation
department went unanswered for a few years. RANTS if there isn't a good explanation for the drop
off in communication -- not just for the lost dollars for an improvements project on a key street, but
because that former administrator now heads the county's huge housing authority program.
As Referendum Group Lawyers Up
Zimmerlink on Dazed & Confused's plan to
hold an Election Board Hearing on referendum
RAVES to Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink for putting in half a shift before the formal work day
clock starts on county issues. Today she added an online comment to the Herald Standard's
editorial about the Referendum Group and the majority commission's second thought to hold an
Election Board hearing on the matter.
"They're now going to hold an Election Board Hearing? Why? They already made their decision.
Read the statements printed in the HS. Ambrosini - HS March 14, 2014: "The referendum does not
have legal authority to be placed on the ballot, therefore, there is no need for the election board to
hold a hearing, " he said. Zapotosky - "HS March 21, 2014. Zapotosky felt the decision to reject the
petition was justified. "This is just a political ploy, there's no reason to have a hearing."
RANTS because all 3 commissioners should be recused from sitting on an Election Board to hear
the referendum matter. Ditto for judges in Common Pleas Court who also sit on the county jail ad
hoc committee or are on record of saying the county needs a new prison. Ditto for judges whose
political campaigns were managed by the wife of the county commish chairman who did not
schedule a county election board meeting prior to the March 18th deadline.
RANTS that the only fair or conflict-free way the Referendum Group's petitions matter may be
addressed is to have the Election Board's violation of due process and refusal to hold a public
hearing instead heard in a higher court outside of Fayette.
RAVES to the awesome attorney now on board with the cause! (11 Apr 14)
Union and paid reps gather as cheerleaders for new prison
It is unknown how many of those gathered yesterday at the courthouse to cheer on a new jail are
actually residents and voters of this county.
But it is interesting that the county's jail employee union contract was just inked the day before and
that the union never previously seemed to find deplorable working conditions in the jail until now.
Also interesting is the fact that the same union, about 12-14 years ago, cowered off with its tail
between its legs, when one county department opted for its representation. The union rep initially
was thrilled at the prospect of getting about 50 new card paying members, but ran away and left the
workers stunned, when a wealthy, then county commissioner scared the union off with the threat of
using his personal funds to fight the workers becoming members of that same union.
This is not the same UMWA that my grandfathers swore by and loved. No. They once upon a time
had much too much self respect to do other peoples' dirty work for them.
If the union really had brains and guts, it would've taken on those 50+ workers 12-14 years ago and
would have been screaming since the 2012 Iowa Street property auction to stop over crowding, get
the mops and cleaning supplies out of lock up and fix the damn roof.
"Quote Of The Day"
"Well, it's nice to know that Alfred and Vincent, in the process, opened the door in the future, to
also welcome in whatever group out there who wants to hold a rally inside the courthouse to do so."
Dave, today at the diner, referring to yesterday's indoor union rally at the courthouse
"They act as though no union members signed the Referendum Group petitions!"
RAVES that the Herald Standard printed another informative letter to the editor from the minority
commissioner today, titled, "County has spent $1.26 million on prison plans." It brings home clearly
the message that no contracts have been voted on at public meetings yet for architectural and
engineering services, but that there have been pay days already. As today's letter states, "Over $1
million has been paid to the architect firm just for invoices through February. More than $200,000
has been paid to the engineering firm for invoices through mid-March."
RAVES that the paper printed this information, as well as a recap of alternate ideas to building an all-
new jail, but the issues raised in the letter deserve a full article -- including RTK requests for the
contracts, as the possibility exists that contracts for these professional services were signed in
private and kept from the minority commissioner. (13 Apr 14)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"Listen to this. guys... Jim Killinger's saying in the paper today that he "did not recommend a new
prison be built at the fairgrounds. The prison board did so at its meeting in September 2013, after a
review of a study by Crabtree Rorhbaugh and Associates and Sleighter Engineering. The vote taken
was 4 to 1 to build the prison and 4 to 1 to build it at the fairgrounds." Come on, guys, stop laughing,
Jim's serious... he goes on to say that he did "not have to check with any township supervisor"
when he was selecting properties for his infamous list of possible jail locations... Ye, gaads, will any
of these guys ever understand county code and Sunshine and the facts that requests for proposals
need to be advertised before wheeling and dealing with private property owners to buy or lease
property for a jail.... and that they can't pass the buck over and over over there being no sewage at
Pete, early today at the diner
"How on earth can Jim say that 'there was never any committee formed' in the paper today? He
signed off as Architectural Team leader in Juls' Right to Know documents that I have copies of...
She got 13 pages of them, bound by an 'Architectural Team' cover page. Here's his exert from
4/18/2013... Architectural team continues to move forward with site locations and prison design. To
date, we have explored sites in the city of Uniontown, Luzerne Township, along the Monongahela
River near Bownsville, North Union Township, Dunbar Township, Franklin Township, and German
Township. We have partnered with Fay-Penn and the economic Development Council to assist us
in locating possible sites. We met with them in March and again on April 12th..." The newspapers
identified him all along as the team leader, so why now does he say he did it all on his own without a
team. Who was the "we" he referred to? Him and Al?"
Dave, in reply
There's a co-leader of the architectural group named on page 14 of the sign in sheets, too! So much
for being an island!"
Judge cancels Referendum Group's Motions Court Date
The Referendum Group received notice this afternoon that tomorrow's hearing before Judge John
F. Wagner is cancelled. Instead, the Referendum Group is notified that the matter must first be
heard before the county election board.
As readers recall, the group went to Motions Court after the Election Board failed to meet by the
required date of March 18 to hold a public hearing on the group's quest to have the question to
build or not to build an all new jail on the spring ballot.
Apparently, the judge is giving the Election Board a reprieve on the matter.
Is there anyone out there foolish enough to believe that either Dem commissioner has the guts and
you know what else to put the matter on the ballot? Why not? Because he knows that most people
do not agree that building an all new $60 million prison is in the county's best interest. Period. (14
"Long-Winded Quote Of The Day"
"So Golddigger hasn't dropped her case yet, I see... I don't understand how this works. First, she
emails Dazed. He emails a judge, but that's not trying to influence a judge? He also emails a couple
state legislators, a local attorney, a few of the state representatives' aides, a county department
head, one commissioner and their aides and forgets about the matter. The woman emails him back a
month later, getting anxious because he dropped the ball and wasn't helping her... They schedule a
meeting weeks after the first contact. An aide informs the third commissioner. The woman writes
back saying she's ready to speak to the media. The third commissioner can't make the meeting that
she just found out about but alerts the media, since the woman said she wanted to speak to the
media and the other commissioner notified everyone in the county but the media. The media never
printed boo about it until a year later, when the woman gave a voluntary interview with her full
name to one of the papers. This was after the DA lost her case. Now she's suing because a few
writers knew about it and didn't write about it until she herself, voluntarily, went to the press and
gave full disclosure! Good God, does anyone have a bloody conscience these days?"
Pete, today, reading the paper
And so says the actual court order...
"And now, April 14, 2014, sua sponte, having read in the Saturday, April 12, 2014, Connellsville Daily
Courier, and, having confirmed by telephone call to the Fayette County Election Bureau on this date,
that the Fayette County Election Bureau has scheduled or will be scheduling a public Election Board
hearing for April 22, 2014, at 10:00 a.m., it is hereby ORDERED that the oral argument set by this Court
for April 15, 2014, at 9:30 o'clock a.m. on the Petition to Require the Prison Referendum Initiative be
placed on the 2014 May Primary Ballot is continued until after the Fayette County Election Board public
Other dates to keep in mind:
- supposed deadline to add to the spring ballot: April 21, although that's not written in stone
- first available date of availability for the meeting room, April 22, although county boards have
met on occasion in the commissioner's meeting room, court rooms, airport conference room,
mental health conference rooms, etc.
You can dress 'em up, but you still can't take 'em out
RAVES that the jail ad hoc committee architectural team leader Jim Killinger composed his thoughts
into a prepared little speech to deliver at today's county commission meeting. Speaking out in
support of the public comment limitations, Killinger said the meetings are "for professional
business" and should be "conducted as such" by all attendees.
RAVES that his staged performance today was calm and appropriate, compared to the last time he
spoke in public, at the February 26 special meeting. As this video (at 2:30) shows, he that day
jumped from his seat quite angrily, pointing his finger, telling a citizen to "shut up," after
threatening that he would "put my finger right in your nose!" (15 Apr 14)
Airport Authority gives another reason to question
whether Ambrosini is oriented x 3
RANTS because it appears there is more reason again to stop and question the cognitive abilities
and brain function of the county commission chairman. As this column sometimes wonders, is there
something horribly wrong with Commissioner Al Ambrosini, or is he just a chronic liar or bullshitter?
For instance, only 12 days ago, he was quoted in the Herald Standard, referring to old airport
hangers as a possible womens' jail annex, and saying, "It is a possibility and one we are seriously
looking at... (Crabtree and Sleighter) are working on what it will cost to upgrade it..."
At today's airport authority board meeting, however, board members addressed the newspaper
story as fiction.
However, facts being facts, there's no reason to doubt that the commish chair said this to the
reporter. She didn't make it up. Why, though, did he say it? Why would old hanger photographs have
been taken and published in the paper if Ambrosini hadn't said it.
Nah, he said it. The reporter wouldn't have dreamed it up as fiction. At today's airport authority
meeting, the airport manager eventually referenced his casual comment months ago that the
airport has a few hangers that could be rented out. When questioned today about it, he said there
was nothing formally brought to him by the county.
So why then, why, o why, would Ambrosini tell a writer that the architect and engineers were
working on plans to determine if the airport hangers could be used as a temporary womens' jail
annex? Forget, of course, when wondering that possibility that he wrongly thought that the county
owns the airport.
Why, o why, would Ambrosini waste the writer's time with the bogus airport idea and waste public
money on plans that really were his own sole great thought?
Does Ambrosini really have any clue what he's doing? Is he a liar and chronic bullshitter? Or is he
just drumming up business for the contracted professionals?
Airport Board Member: "Zimmerlink is definitely confused"
"We don't owe money," Airport Authority Board member Joseph Maher said at today's meeting, after
just about chewing off the head of fellow board member Myrna Giannopoulos for asking why last
month's meeting minutes state all bills are paid, but that a letter to the editor 10 days ago from the
minority county commissioner referenced the airport as having unpaid bills.
"I don't know who would've asked Mrs. Zimmerlink for money," said board member Bill Gerke, who
also maintained that "all bills are paid up to date."
After hearing the treasurer's report and while giving the operations report, the airport manager
stated that he wrote to all 3 commissioners, asking that the remaining $30,000 and some change
from a partially used $50,000 county grant be moved from a special account into the airport
authority's general fund since the 2010 project was abandoned. He did not state at the meeting
whether he mentioned to the commissioners what the money would be used for if transferred.
County Controller Shaun Lally, who attended today's airport board meeting, confirmed to the board
that the commissioners' resolution was approved and that the money could be used without
restriction. It is unknown when the funds were or actually will be transferred, as a source relayed
that the funds may have been transferred without board or county knowledge last year.
While the majority of board members attending today's airport meeting agreed that all bills are paid
up to date, Maher said that he would like to use the funds for some improvement project.
Meanwhile, the airport board members, who stated that all bills are paid up to date and that it's only
the majority commissioner's "opinion" that the airport has unpaid bills, also acknowledged that the
airport owes about $30,000 to the airport fuel supplier. The authority owed $27,000 to Purvis, the
fuel supplier, 4 months ago and stated in mid-December that the debt would be paid off at the
beginning of the year.
Zimmerlink has been asked this evening to comment on whether the airport manager stated in his
request an intended purpose of the unused project funds if the commissioners approved the
transfer. Please read the blue link above for confirmation that he did state in writing that the funds
were to pay for an outstanding gas debt.
Meanwhile, RAVES to Giannopoulos for speaking up and telling the gentlemen to stop yelling at her
for asking questions.
"Every meeting I go to anymore, I get yelled at. I don't think it's necessary," she said.
Exactly! (16 Apr 14)
Zoning variance hearing scheduled for jail at
Dunbar Township Business Park
Yesterday afternoon, the county zoning office, reportedly, notified the minority county
commissioner that Commission Chairman Al Ambrosini had submitted a request for a zoning board
hearing, for a special exception and variance for the new jail.
While it is no shocker that Ambrosini would have kept this news to himself rather than inform the
public at Tuesday's county monthly meeting, the real surprise is that the petitioner is listed as
Ambrosini, as opposed to the county, and the owner of the property intended to be used is stated
to be William Blaney, not Fay Penn.
Does this mean that the Dunbar/Mt. Braddock Industrial Park is off the list to be home to the new
jail? Or is that plan still on and this upcoming zoning hearing is another half-baked idea to find
another temporary annex site? Or are the names of these 2 men used because Blaney is associated
with Fay Penn? Bingo, the latter is the case!
More on this as more unfolds. Watch for the legal notice for the zoning hearing, said to be
scheduled on May 6, at 10:30 a.m. An evening meeting is said to be tentatively scheduled on May 8,
before the county planning commission, for approval for the site plan. The filing fee for the May 6
hearing was $700.
RANTS because it appears that Ambrosini sat through another public meeting on Tuesday and
shamefully kept the public in the dark. (17 Apr 14)
Referendum Group: Filing the jail referendum
case with the state supreme court
Today, John Cofchin of the Referendum Group served Judge John Wagner, the county
board of commissioners who comprise the county election board and the election bureau
director their notices that he is filing the referendum matter with the PA Supreme Court.
The group's decision to proceed with a Kings Bench filing with the state supreme court
follows the county election board missing its March 18 deadline to hold a hearing on the
group's request to add a referendum to the spring election ballot. A hearing before Wagner,
scheduled for April 15th was cancelled, with Wagner throwing the matter back to the election
board after reading in the classified newspaper section that the election board, on second
thought, scheduled an election board hearing on April 22.
King's Bench jurisdiction or King's Bench power is the extraordinary jurisdiction of an
individual state's highest court over its inferior courts. In this country, only PA, Virginia, NY
and 3 other states have the King's Bench jurisdiction or power to vacate the judgments of
inferior courts when acting in extraordinary circumstances -- for example, where the
importance of an issue to public well-being or the expediency with which action must be
taken in the interest of justice requires superseding normal judicial or appellate procedures.
The supreme court exercises King's Bench powers on rare occasions. It has exercised them
to take jurisdiction of cases involving public employee strikes, election disputes, prison
overcrowding, investigating grand juries, powers of the legislature and alleged judicial
Cofchin said today that he will proceed to formally file the case under Kings Bench status on
Monday, as the Pittsburgh court is closed tomorrow, in observance of Good Friday. (17 Apr
"Most Misleading Quotes Of The Day"
"The commissioners of Fayette County appointed a Prison Working Group (PWG) to identify
and evaluate potential sites for the Fayette County Justice and Rehabilitation Center (JRC)
correctional facility. This group performed a thorough review of sites throughout the
county... Upon completion, the group was left with few properties that met all the criteria..."
Petition For Variance Hearing, Page 2, Article VIII, §1000-827(A), incorrectly stating that the
commissioners appointed the PWG, when, in fact, the county prison board did so;
incorrectly stating that the PWG thoroughly evaluated all potential sites when, in reality, no
requests for proposals were ever sought via classified newspaper ads... in spite of umpteen
different citizen requests to the county commission chairman in public meetings to do so
"Best Chuckle Quote Of The Day"
"Article II, §1000-213 - At least one (1) deciduous tree must be planted for each seven hundred
(700) square feet of net floor area in conjunction with any non-residential development: We plan
to plant a total of 76 trees in order to satisfy the bufferyard and parking lot island requirements (not
included to meet this requirement) and an additional 22 for aesthetic purposes. According to the
above standard, we would need to plant an additional 143 trees to satisfy this requirement.
However, most of the remaining open area of the site is forested or is a DEP designated
Value" wetland. Therefore, we find it environmentally regressive to disturb these sensitive areas in
order to plant more trees when there are plenty already present on site. Additionally, the cost of
planting 143 more trees would significantly increase the overall cost of development on the project,
which is already under financial scrutiny."
Same above linked Petition for Variance Hearing document, page 2, expressing concern over the
cost of planting 143 trees in forest and wetlands areas of a $60 million+ project that will likely
bankrupt the county anyway
Editor's Note: Please read the letter from zoning and legal notice and the petition for
special exception hearing. Please make it a point to ask Commissioners Ambrosini and
Zapotosky why, shamefully, neither mentioned at Tuesday's public meeting what was filed on
Monday, why they let the jail ceiling leak into buckets for years and why they seem content letting it
continue to leak while prisoners and staff are inside. (18 Apr 14)
RAVES to spring
RAVES for spring having finally sprung. Happy Easter to all who celebrate it.
RAVES for sugar free jelly beans and peeps!
RANTS that the web building geniuses at Yahoo, outsourced to India, have not a clue why so many
readers, from many different near and far locations and Internet providers, report that this site so
often is offline. It's nothing that we're doing here, as publishing and editing do not affect the ability
RAVES of thanks and appreciation to all who drop a line to report when it happens or when links
aren't working. RAVES of thanks and appreciation to the 80+ who reported that the airport
manager's letter to the commissioners link wasn't working, and RAVES of astonishment that it now
has over 9,340 hits!
RAVES, as well, that the new Yahoo listened and custom developed a new format that will allow easy
publication of the latest R&R information at the top of the page. Please keep that in mind! RAVES to
not having to scroll all the way down starting tomorrow to catch up reading here.
While many are new readers of the last few years, this site thanks all, but especially the die hards
who are hanging in there, now into the 9th year. Thanks for dropping by to read.
Homepage/Today's R&R Newer R&R Older R&R FAYETTE COUNTY
Copyright Protected COMMENTARY