Letter: Responding to comments

To The Editor,

Letters1I have reviewed numerous replies to submissions I have made to The Times. I believe that I must respond to some of the comments. First my family and I moved into Pocopson Township in 1957. I have lived here ever since. My education consisted of two years of parochial school in Wilmington, followed by four years in the Unionville School (it was a 1-12 facility at the time), followed by six years at Tower Hill School. I received a BS from Trinity College in Hartford CT. and a Master of Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I have no desire to capitulate to Mr. Knauss’ suggestion that I could move.

I served for about ten years as a Pocopson Supervisor. I was first appointed to an unexpired term and then was twice elected to the position. I left early, as I could not support the development of a potential Superfund site, an old apple orchard contaminated with arsenic. During my time on the Board, the Township population increased by approximately 150 new residents and there was little, if any, new construction. I also convinced the other Supervisors to support and institute two one-mil reductions to our property tax rate. These could be the only property tax reductions in the Township’s history. I developed a recycling program for the Township that has generated about $60,000 over the last 20 years. Finally I volunteered to serve on the Kennett Area Regional Planning Commission for 20 years. The Commission composed of representatives from six local municipalities
worked on solving regional problems and addressing mutual concerns. I continue to be involved in some Township matters.

I started to attend the School Board’s public meetings in 1995 and their work sessions after I resigned as a Supervisor. I have also occasionally attended subcommittee meetings. Finally, I assisted in the development of two six-year plans for the district.

I agree with Mr. Knauss that people who send e-mail messages should sign these submissions and not use pseudonyms. However, I find it very ironic that Mr. Knauss also uses a pseudonym at times when he desires. It appears to be common knowledge that “Open Eyes” is really Keith Knauss. How hypocritical can he be?

For those of us who remember the “Efficient Education” diatribes issued by Mr. Knauss and Mr. Hellrung before they were elected to the UCF School Board, or perhaps are even lucky enough to still have copies of these papers, they will dearly see how completely hypocritical Mr. Knauss is.

Mr. Knauss criticizes my call for larger class sizes in the High School that currently averages around 16 students. What I was proposing was that the High savings. Why have policies if you are not going to follow them?

Mr. Knauss also states “It is interesting to note that the (TE) District last had a zero percent tax increase was budget year 2004-05, a decade ago …. I find it even more interesting that the last time the UCF District had a zero percent tax increase in Chester County was budget year 1996-97, almost two decades ago. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

It would be far better if all bloggers stuck to the facts and not opinions, speculations, and hypotheticals. Much more appropriate progress could be made if this concept was adopted by all. I make every effort to provide the public with facts and to always present the truth.

Bruce B. Yelton
Pocopson

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16 Responses

  1. A couple of quick notes on the above letter:

    Obviously, they represent Bruce’s opinion and as such deserve proper public airing.

    In terms of our commenting system and questions about who some of the anonymous posters are, let me say a few things:

    First, based on IP data I have, I think it is highly unlikely that “Open Eyes” and Keith Knauss are the same person. I’m pretty sure I know exactly who the poster in question is, and it’s not Keith. Keith and I have had our share of disagreements over the years (one might argue more than our share) but I think it would inappropriate to allow a suggestion to appear unchallenged when I have information to the contrary.

    Now, as for the anonymous nature of postings.

    I certainly understand the downside of anonymous postings — and we work carefully to keep things from getting out of hand. At the same time, I like, and encourage, the freer exchange of thoughts and ideas that come from anonymous postings. And it is not like this is some new concept: from the writings of Mrs. Silence Dogood (Benjamin Franklin) to the then-anonymous writers of the Federalist Papers (later determined to be Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison), we have more than 200 years of history and tradition of protected, anonymous public debate. Virtually all of our founding fathers engaged in the practice.

    Obviously, those who speak with their own name and voice will carry the greatest weight. But there remains room for those who feel uncomfortable with identifying themselves — for whatever reason — to participate in the conversation. I see no difference in allowing such conversation than in allowing for the anonymous vote cast at the polls.

    Again, I hope to remind all to keep things civil — attack the idea, not the person.

  2. Very laughable!
    .
    I’ll point out two problems (out of many more) with Mr. Yelton’s letter and then return to using my time for more productive matters.
    .
    1. Mr. Yelton says class size “currently averages around 16 students” at the high school. Unfortunately, Mr. Yelton has taken the number of students at the high school and divided by the number of professional employees. Professional employees include nurses, guidance counselors, psychologists, special education teachers and specialists (e.g. art, computer science, music) as well as classroom teachers. Indeed, as Mr. Yelton suggests, we could save millions of dollars each year if we fired everyone except classroom teachers. However, the education of our students would suffer plus we’d be in jail for ignoring the health and special education laws.
    .
    2. Mr.Yelton says, “It would be far better if all bloggers stuck to the facts and not opinions, speculations, and hypotheticals.” Yet, Mr. Yelton in the same letter ignores his own advice and SPECULATES that I use a pseudonym. Not so. I hope Mr. McGann can confirm that I do not use a pseudonym as he has access to the IP and email addresses of contributors. As many people know, I take pride in expressing my opinions bluntly and openly. However, one of the downsides is that I attract the attention of some (let me be gentle) “interesting” people.

  3. Bruce has served the Unionville community for a long time and has attended more meetings than probably even he cares to consider over all these years. As such, I think it is sad that he felt he should have to credential himself to anybody in order for them to consider his opinions valuable. I also think it is sad when people use pseudonyms to bully other people brave enough to put their name to a letter to the editor or comment. I understand why parents in the District would feel the need to use a pseudonym because retaliation is real. People may have other reasons that are equally valid. However, when members of the Board or Administration (or their relatives) hide behind a pseudonym and then bully people by name, that’s pathetic.

    • I will not be silenced by Kristin Hoover’s long-distance cyber bullying.

      • Nobody is bullying you. I simply disagree and consider it quite cowardly that you take whatever swipe you feel necessary at me while you hide behind a pseudonym.

        • Actually, Ms. Hoover, bullying is second nature to you. Remember this?

          Mike McGann
          May 25, 2013 at 10:34 AM
          This seems unnecessarily harsh and frankly, borders on bullying behavior.
          Her points on weather are completely valid. The impact of hurricanes — when was the last time an actual hurricane (not a storm that had been downgraded to a tropical storm or depression) actually hit the area? Agnes? As for the tornados — the topography makes them very unlikely, albeit not impossible. So yes, even here, once in a great while we see a brief EF1 touchdown, but nothing like that seen in the midwest, so Amy’s points about this being a relatively protected area remain quite valid.
          I’m not a mortgage or real estate expert — but Amy is a licensed broker and does this for a living, so I respect her opinion and her arguments would seem to be echoed by those reported in the CNN/Fortune story she cited.
          As for being a columnist, she most assuredly is — and frankly, that’s my call.
          If her writing, or any other content on this site doesn’t meet your standards, you are welcome to seek content elsewhere.
          As always, you are welcome to disagree in a civil manner.
          But personally attacking one of my writers will not be tolerated. Ever.

  4. I most assuredly am not Keith Knauss. My desire to remain anonymous should not be misinterpreted as fearful – rather I am exercising an option readily available to me (and others- TE Resident, had enough for example). Interesting that only my pseudonym is mentioned when there are multiple folks posting here anonymously.

    Facts are often in short supply here but sharing opinions is a time-honored democratic tradition and as long as everyone remains civil and appropriate where is the harm? Discourse is the hallmark of an open and engaged public.

    Mr. Yelton must remember that his views, and those of his friends are not legitimized simply because they are published in self- produced letters and manifestos. Their misinterpretation of data, including my identity, has fallen prey to hysteria and perhaps a little paranoia. Is it really so hard to believe that there are taxpaying residents who do NOT think that the residency ‘issue’ is worth all of the negativity being produced by the angry few (and at least two are not UCFSD residents)? Sheesh.

    • You misunderstand the issue. Education theft was the original issue of importance. However, it was the HANDLING of the matter by Sanville and the subsequent use of lawyers to justify a deal coupled with the treatment of Dr. Manzone and of Sean Rafferty’s RTK request in an attempt to cover-up these actions that people find offensive. It is the use of lawyers to fight a taxpayer and the disregard for the Open Records law that is particularly maddening and ironic given that RTK apparently means one thing before you are elected and the opposite afterwards when you have something to cover-up. All of this is at taxpayer expense! Snarky comments made by the Board against members of the public are not helping. It simply is all wrong.

      • Ms. Hoover: let me reply to what you represent as “facts” as follows:

        “Educational theft” according to whom? Certainly not 11 of 12 SB Directors or the Superintendent. STRIKE ONE. But let’s wait and see what the CCIU says.

        “Treatment of Dr. Manzone” The Board did not approve of Dr. Manzone playing “gumshoe” and staking out a family’s home. She resigned, making a big stink about her own purity while she was, coincidentally, running for another political office (she lost).

        The RTK request: currently under review by the Open Records Office. Obviously, one cannot request protected information from the school which would identify a child or his/her family. RTK requests are not available for such things such as a student’s report cards, address, etc. However, let’s see what they RTK office says. We know that they SIDED with Keith years ago only to be reversed by a Judge. Keith does not make a RTK decision for the district – Dr. Sanville does, so I don’t know why you reference his history.

        As to your “snarky comments” reference, you are certainly one to talk! For too long I saw your behavior on full display at School Board Meetings and on these very comment boards. The School Board Directors are human beings volunteering their time and worthy of being respected, not derided as you always seem to do. They are NOT your personal Pinatas. I personally like it when the Directors comment to engage in rebuttal, debate and discussion – standing up to bullies is a GOOD thing.

  5. Since the UCFSD along with the TESD and other Districts fund the CCIU, this makes the investigation an internal investigation – not an independent third party investigation. The CCIU works for the 12 districts in the county who fund it. They have incentive to rule in favor of the Board of Directors and no incentive to rule otherwise.

    If Kieth and other Directors truly wanted an independent investigation they would spend money to hire an independent third party to investigate this matter.

    As far as Dr. Sanville making decisions on RTK requests: Keith was a Board member before Dr. Sanville was hired. Keith hired Dr. Sanville. Keith and Dr. Sanville are friends.

  6. E Resident is correct. The investigation by the CCIU is not completely independent. The district and the CCIU have a financial relationship that could bias the outcome. Therefore, all the Hoover/TE Resident/Yelton/Manzone/Rafferty conspiracy theorists will discount the results.
    .
    In fact, any investigator the district hires will have a financial tie to the district and will be labeled as biased by the conspiracy group. What we really need is for the conspiracy group to hire and pay for their own investigator. Are you in??

    • No, that’s not what we need. We need Board Members to serve the citizen tax payers they were elected to serve and not the administration which in reality, is who they do serve. The Board has used tax payer money to hire 2 lawyers to keep citizens from learning about information in this case. This money would be well spent hiring an independent investigator instead.

      Inflammatory, dramatic statements by you Keith do not work. They never did. There are plenty of independent investigators the district could hire to do this job and you know it. How about forming a citizens committee to come up with a plan to hire one? Bur you would never do that, would you? Heaven forbid a tax paying citizen gets a say in the decision.

      • Again, TE Resident has missed the point. Any investigator the district hires will not be independent in the eyes of the conspiracy group. There will always be a remote financial tie or a distant relationship (e.g. 3rd cousin) or some other inane excuse to discount a report favorable to the district.
        .
        Let’s see how the conspiracy group reacts to the thoroughly independent Office of Open Records as they rule in the district’s favor. Could it be that the OOR has interpreted the law and correctly ruled that the requested information is protected and not a public record? Well, no. TE Resident has already told us how she will react – ” The Board has used tax payer money to hire 2 lawyers to keep citizens from learning about information in this case.”

        • Again, Keith is wrong. I did not miss the point. Again Keith ignored part of my comment so he could push his own personal agenda while also twisting the truth to create a perception that he desperately tries to control.

          Form a citizens committee. Allow the committee to choose the independent investigator. Allow a collection of tax paying citizens with different backgrounds, different experiences different attitudes, opinions and beliefs to come together and choose one investigator that everyone agrees with.

          Keith, you’re bitter. You were many things but bitter was not one of them.

  7. The 50th anniversary of an important Supreme Court decision has just passed (New York Times v Sullivan) and we would all do well to remember the following which is excerpted from that case: “Stromberg v. California, 283 U.S. 359, 369. “[I]t is a prized American privilege to speak one’s mind, although not always with perfect good taste, on all public institutions,” Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252, 270, and this opportunity is to be afforded for “vigorous advocacy” no less than “abstract discussion.” NAACP v. Button, 371 U.S. 415, 429. [p270] The First Amendment, said Judge Learned Hand,

    presupposes that right conclusions are more likely to be gathered out of a multitude of tongues than through any kind of authoritative selection. To many, this is, and always will be, folly, but we have staked upon it our all.

  8. UCFSD has become a richer version of Coatsville’s School District. You can read what is happening there and see that it is the same thing. They have inappropriate texting by an Assistant Superintendent, but UCFSD has a worse problem….a Superintendent who made a deal to allow education theft! They have a cover-up by the Board who have used intimidating tactics against those who disagree. UCFSD has the same thing. Now the Chester County DA is involved and has castigated the Coatsville Board. I think people need to contact the Chester County DA.

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