Friday, January 23, 2015

The deer expert will be awarded the contract!

Sigh. It is just getting worse and worse here. Remember Merlin Benner, the deer expert who was advising the commissioners with deer management plans? It turns out that he was the only one who submitted a proposal for trap and bolt.

In today's Administrative Report from Steve Feller to commission and staff:






Monday's Commission Agenda shows that Steve Silverman will be introducing:

6. Consideration of proposals to trap and euthanize white tailed deer within Mt. Lebanon. 
This contract is to provide white-tailed deer capture and euthanize services between February 1 and March 31, 2015, in public parks in Mt. Lebanon. The objective is to capture 150 deer using a baited corral trap system as an initial step to realize the goal to reduce deer/vehicle collisions in the community.

Recommended Action: Move to authorize the proper municipal officials to award a contract to Wildlife Specialists, LLC, for a total amount not to exceed $75,000.
Merlin the Magnificent knows that $68,000 was set aside this year for deer management along with $12,000 from last year totaling $80,000 for deer management. Benner also knows that $5,000 of that will be set aside for deer sterilization, which leaves a balance of $75,000. Guess who Wildlife Specialists, LLC is? Merlin Benner. Guess what his proposal was? You guessed it. Guess who told us initially that trap and bolt was illegal here and was inhumane? Yep.

This is the most despicable action to date by our commissioners. Does this remind anyone of the time that the Penn State turf expert hired to speak also had a partnership with an artificial turf company? Merlin Benner was paid for every time he spoke at commission meetings. Anyone want to file a Right To Know to find out how much Merlin Benner was paid for his advice? He was paid for his expertise.

There was an online petition that explains the heinous procedure of trap and bolt.
Cornell University: Stop trapping deer and shooting metal rods into their brains



Subjecting our children to toxic turf and now this, Commissioners, I hope you burn in hell.

Shooting deer won't solve the problem

Laura Simon, wildlife ecologist with The Humane Society of the United States, spent two days in Mt. Lebanon last June and was one of the experts who spoke at the June 10, 2014 deer forum.



Ms. Simon submitted a Letter to the Editor to the PG which appears in today's newspaper. Shooting deer won't solve the problem

January 23, 2015 12:00 AM 
Although an archery deer kill was called off recently, Mt. Lebanon’s decision to pursue other lethal options is a big mistake. Simply put, killing deer won’t resolve Mt. Lebanon’s deer issues, but it will waste taxpayer dollars and result in an endless cycle of killing. 
As long as the community maintains dozens of floral islands that entice deer onto the streets and as long as residents don’t utilize preventative gardening strategies, the problems will continue. Killed deer will be soon replaced by those wandering in from the surrounding deer-rich habitat. 
Deer confound efforts to control their numbers in other ways. Where they’re hunted, deer numbers bounce back. When deer have better nutrition, they breed at a younger age and have higher fawn survival. The net result is a population surge after any hunting decline. 
And, as science shows us, killing some deer won’t reduce human risk of Lyme disease — there are too many hosts that the tick will take advantage of. Nor is it assured that deer-car collisions will lessen once some deer are removed. 
The deer-killing methods to be used are understandably controversial: Bow-hunting incurs a high crippling rate, and it’s hard to fire a metal bolt into the brain of a struggling deer with enough precision to ensure a humane death. 
The Humane Society of the United States urges the Mt. Lebanon community to show true leadership and invest in an innovative, effective, humane and long-term solution. That is, one that utilizes deer-resistant gardening strategies, state-of-the-art fertility control options and successful collision reduction strategies already in operation elsewhere.


Laura Simon
Wildlife ecologist
The Humane Society of the United States
Washington, D.C.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Her shoes melted.

Last time I had one of these was two years ago. Call it my meltdown I guess this is "Call it my meltdown 2.0." A friend sent me another article about the dangers of artificial turf. Is Artificial Turf Safe for Your Children? Jenny Chamberlain, a Los Angeles mother, avoids artificial turf because her child's shoes kept melting from the heat that artificial turf gives off.

Turf companies claim artificial turf is safe because kids don’t ingest the crumb rubber. Chamberlain, however, doesn’t buy it because she has seen kids drop an orange, brush it off and eat it—putting them at risk of exposure. Kids also fall on the ground constantly in sports and risk ingesting the crumb rubber that way, too.
Yet, the SAB AHs all think that our concerns are "much ado about nothing." Watch the SAB video and you can see them all nod in agreement with the SAB AH who made that statement. I tried to inform the community about how we are being bullied, but the bullies won. [See Call it my meltdown.]

I wrote to Manager Steve Feller, and copied the police chief, PIO, commissioners, and Rep. Dan Miller today asking when the public was going to be told about the archery program extension being denied and heard nothing back from Mr. Feller. In a Mt. Lebanon Google alert, I learned that Matt Santoni asked the same question. At least he got an answer. Mt. Lebanon awaits formal letter nixing extended deer season In the meantime, Kristen Linfante's favorite paint experts have signs near their registers promoting deer culling. They couldn't say no to the three pushy women who were approaching Washington Road storefronts. I tried to inform the community about how we are being bullied, but the bullies won. [See Call it my meltdown.]

Speaking of Kristen Linfante, I saw this on Facebook tonight.


I was reminded of this Lebo Citizens comment

Mrs. Linfante won't give up her elephant ivory bow. She considers it an extension of her arm. http://www.post-gazette.com/news/environment/2015/01/18/How-tiny-bits-of-ivory-snare-symphony-musicians-crossing-borders/stories/201501180065
Kristen is just itching to have the deer killed with that loathsome slaughterhouse killing method called trap and bolt. Why would she ever want to give up her viola bow when she travels outside of the country? I tried to inform the community about how we are being bullied, but the bullies won. [See Call it my meltdown.]

I really need a vacation from this place. It is a horrible place to be right now.

CHANGE ORDER ACCOUNTING THROUGH DECEMBER 2014

Lebo Citizens reader and Mt. Lebanon resident, Richard Gideon has been following the high school renovation change orders very closely.  Thank you, RG, for your end of year accounting. The numbers listed in the sidebar include January 2015 change orders, as approved during the January 19, 2015 school board meeting.

Here are the official figures concerning change orders for the high school reconstruction project through the end of December, 2014:

Total spent: $4,028,968.57

Average Change Order (includes refunds): $15,924.78
Median Change Order (includes refunds): $9,797.00
Beginning Contingency: $4,276,000.00
Balance (31 Dec 2014): $247,031.43
% used (31 Dec 2014): 94.22%

The total spent thus far reflects another, rather irritating, situation. A couple of months ago I noticed that a change order in favor of Farfield Electric going back to July of 2013 (7/15/13 EL-37-133 Farfield, Light fixture changes in both interior & exterior locations due to code, 28,907.00) had been changed from $28,907 to $28,097, resulting in an $810.00 discrepancy in my spreadsheet. I wrote to Mrs. Klein asking her to verify which one of the two figures is correct. Mrs. Klein replied saying, "We checked our records and found it was in fact a typographical error which we have corrected for December’s report." And here is where we have a problem; Mrs. Klein did not confirm a figure, she just said "...it was in fact a typographical error..". What does "it" refer to?; the $28,907 figure or $28,097. I assumed it was the $28,097 amount (and wrote about it on this Blog), but after listening to the podcast of the School Board meeting in December it became clear that Mrs. Klein was referring to the original $28,907 figure. This was confirmed when I received, yesterday, the latest Change Order PDF accounting through December, 2014, which listed $28,097. Here is the exact line from that document:

7/15/13 EL‐37‐133 Farfield Light fixture changes in both interior & exterior locations due to code requirements, maintenance issues & fire department review. 28,097.00

To be perfectly fair to Mrs. Klein, perhaps I should have worded my message differently (and not assumed!); but in fairness to me, I did ask for verification of which one of the two figures was correct, and instead of a number I got a pronoun. A subsequent message to Mrs. Klein about the issue was not answered.

One interesting note is that the December change orders totaled "only" $49,311.00; the lowest monthly total since July, 2013, when a series of refund adjustments resulted in a negative CO balance for that month of -$29,292! Even so, the average monthly total for change orders since the project began is now $129,966.73*. In theory, the average monthly CO total, given a starting account value of $4,276,000 spread over 41 months (the project "life"), cannot exceed $104.292.68.  

I have predicted that the District will run out of money before the project is completed, based on its rate of expenditure, and I'll stick to that prediction. However, it will be quite interesting to see what the District proposes to do to stop this "money bleed."  

Richard Gideon
-------------------
*In the interest of disclosure, there have been a total of 31 monthly periods of change orders since the project began, totaling $4,028,968.57, resulting in an average of $129,966.73/month.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sports Advisory Board November meeting minutes finally posted

On Monday, I wrote to the commission asking about the SAB meeting minutes being posted. At that time, the June 2014 meeting minutes were the most recent ones available. I received this response from President John Bendel:
Elaine,
Meeting minutes are posted after they are approved. Therefore, the postings have at least a one month delay. In the case of the SAB, they met on June 14, November 6 and January 15. The November 6 minutes were approved a few days ago at the January 15 meeting. They should be posted shortly.  
Maybe the questions to Mr. Bendel should be, "Why does the board with the largest budget ever recorded in Mt Lebanon history have gaps of over five months between meetings? If the board's needs are so essential, why the long vacation?"
The November minutes have been posted. Minutes of the November 6, 2014 Sports Advisory Board meeting

Mr. Franklin suggested that the policy be adjusted to reflect any changes to the field signage ordinance. He added that he doesn’t anticipate a great deal of interest from corporate sponsors.
In April 2012, Lebo Fields' Dave Franklin had insisted that we must change the sign ordinance.  Franklin on sign ordinance
Ideally, the municipality or the various sports associations will be permitted to sell tasteful sponsorship signage at the municipal fields (picture signs on the outfield fence at Dixon). These funds can then be applied to field maintenance and improvements. I think the first proposed amendment has a few problems, but we also need to encourage the commissioners to stay focused on getting the amendment right so that we can capitalize on this much needed source of additional revenue.
The Sports Advisory Board met again on january 15, 2015. At approximately the 32:19 minute mark of the video, Dave Franklin was blaming the delay of the construction on those who wanted to stop the project. All it did, according to Dave, was cost the municipality more money and "it was much ado about nothing." Last I read, the Allegheny County Conservation District and the DEP would disagree with you, Dave. Gateway had to comply. The NPDES permit wasn't granted until October 16, 2014. Gateway told you that it would be the beginning of July. Don't blame us for it. Blame Gateway. Thanks for giving us so much credit, but we had nothing to do with it.  Our protests were on October 26, 2014 and November 8, 2014. Construction was due to start August 1 and didn't begin until late October.

By the way, SAB, I guess this is "more ado about nothing."

Rep. Steve Israel Blasts Feds for Failing to Probe Synthetic Turf
A New York congressman is demanding the feds probe whether a type of synthetic turf used on thousands of kids' playing fields could cause health risks, saying that environmental officials have "whiffle-waffled" about the potential dangers. 
Rep. Steve Israel of Long Island has sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking for a second look at the recycled material known as "tire crumb."...The EPA has said it does not have any plans to re-examine the risks.

"The EPA has just whiffle-waffled on this and they owe us a straight answer and they owe us that answer now," Israel said.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

We didn't get the archery program extension

I sent an email to Commissioner Kelly Fraasch asking for an update on the archery program. The PA Game Commission did not grant an extension. Here is Kelly's email.

Hi Elaine,
Sorry for delay.

It appears we have not been able to secure that extension that Chief was talking about and Commissioners were hoping for to host an archery program with the staff.
Now the focus is on the permits for trap n bolt and sterilization.
Kelly

The municipality is now soliciting bids for sterilization and to trap and kill deer in Mt. Lebanon. The Request For Proposals (RFP) is listed here on the municipal website. Read section II of the RFP. It talks about 346 deer being counted in March 2013. As an afterthought, the following was added. "A subsequent count of 196 deer was taken by Vision Air in March of 2014."

There will be NO archery program in Mt. Lebanon at this time.

In Steve Feller's weekly report to the commission and staff sent out yesterday,


Text messages are public records

Back in November 2013, Representative Dan Miller sponsored a Right To Know Information Session at the Municipal Building. Dan has always been an advocate for transparency in government. Recently, Dan sent me this article about text messages. Text message is a public record

When I submit a Right To Know to our government agencies, I ask for all communication, not just emails. Have I ever received a text message in any of my RTKs? No. This has been an ongoing battle with our municipality.

The Municipal Open Records Officer, Manager Steve Feller, has found a loophole in the Sunshine Law taking an additional 30 days on top of the five days permitted to grant or deny right to know requests. All requests seem to be coming back with the need for a legal review. I filed a RTK concerning the archery program and even though the request is time sensitive, I will not hear from Steve until on or before January 29, 2015. Will I get any text messages in that request? It is highly improbable. Will I see any commissioners "breaking sunshine" in that request? Most likely.

At a recent commission meeting, a resident inquired about cell phones. After he spoke, our PIO, Susan Morgans flashed her cell phone in front of the resident's face, and made a snarky remark about her cell phone. The resident was forced to file a Right To Know and got the usual Feller delay tactic.

Since Dan Miller has left our municipal government, the Municipality of Mt. Lebanon has become very secretive.
While some local governments have been proactive on the text messaging archiving quandary, McEwen said others might be dragging their feet and pretending it’s a tech challenge they don’t need to worry about. 
“I think that’s really scary to put those blinders on,” he said. “If you aren’t retaining [text messages], you’re doing a disservice to your citizens by not protecting those records.”
Our municipal and school district Open Records Officers are doing a disservice to the residents of Mt. Lebanon by dragging their feet and by not complying with the sunshine laws.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Caught in another lie? UPDATED

I couldn't decide on that title or "The Dumbest Thing Dave Ever Said." I was not at Tuesday's commission meeting, nor had time to watch the videos, but I did read Matt Santoni's Mt. Lebanon seeks deer decree.

Kristen Linfante was not at Tuesday's meeting, but municipal staff could not verify the whereabouts of the private hunt. Chief McDonough had not heard of any complaints about hunters or wounded deer. Even Kristen also could not identify where her hunt was taking place. Hence the title of this blog posting.

According to the article, we're back up to six locations for hunting; Iroquois Park, the golf course, Bird, Robb Hollow, McNeilly, and in the conservation area off of Connor Road which must be 50 yards away from nearby homes and 150 yards from schools and playgrounds. Isn't there a playground in Iroquois Park? Neighbors will not be notified by letter. It would be too much work and not effective. I bet the Recreation Department could handle that. They contacted 8,000 residents and non-residents when they were soliciting non-municipal funds for the turf project. But according to Dave Brumfield,
“The minute people get a letter from us and see it's not a tax bill, they're going to throw it out,” said Commissioner Dave Brumfield." [Dumbest thing he ever said.]
Residents will be notified via LeboALERT, postings around the killing fields and through the municipal website.

January 15, 2015 7:45 PM The Almanac reports in their article,  Mt. Lebanon still hopes to thin deer population
Mt. Lebanon Police Chief Coleman McDonough said the municipality had qualified five employees for bow hunting on public land and could qualify as many as seven more before the permit application is approved.
The archery hunt was to begin on December 26, 2014 with 20 municipal employees participating. None had been vetted. As of January 13, 2015, the municipality only had vetted five employees with potentially seven more before the permit application is approved.  Was the lack of tags the real issue or couldn't they find anyone who qualified?

In the Post-Gazette's Mt. Lebanon ready to begin deer hunt, only Kelly Fraasch was thinking about residents.
Commissioner Kelly Fraasch asked if letters could be sent to residents who live near likely places for the archery hunt.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pursuant Ketchum Going...Going...

Looks like Pursuant Ketchum is on their way out, according to the article in the Trib, Vote set on hiring of new advisor for Mt. Lebanon School District Alyssa DeLuca, who just returned from family leave, will continue to lead the fundraising campaign at $82,500 per year. Maggie Schmidt will replace Pursuant Ketchum and will be advising Alyssa DeLuca at a rate of $62.50 per hour for as many as 32 hours per month.
Schmidt would replace staff from consulting firm Pursuant Ketchum, which has been advising Mt. Lebanon on the campaign since March 2013. Pursuant Ketchum recommended Schmidt to the district, and she will replace consultants who had been traveling about once a month from Pursuant's Boston offices at Mt. Lebanon's expense, said Superintendent Tim Steinhauer.
Also from the Trib article:
The board also discussed hiring former employee Stephen Schuerer as a human resources consultant, also at a rate of $62.50 per hour, to work with the district on a new contract for its teachers. The current contract runs through June 30.
If Steve Schuerer is not currently working for the district, who is the director of human resources? He is currently listed as the Title IX compliance investigator on the MTSLD calendar and in other places. Every school that receives federal money is supposed to have one. Is Steve Schuerer an attorney? If not, why is he being hired to work with the district on a new teachers' contract? Nice that he can double dip.

Speaking of teachers and administrators, we can find out how much administrators and teachers earned in 2012-13 here: Pa. posts school administrator, teacher salaries to website The salary information is difficult to find. To view individual teacher salarieschoose Allegheny County, then Mt. Lebanon School District. View district information. In the top right of the next page, view fiscal information. Scroll down on the right, and go to School Personnel Salary Date. It's a downloadable spreadsheet.

We had to ask for the money.

Thank you, resident and Lebo Citizens reader, Nick Meduho, for asking!

From: John Bendel [mailto:jbendel@mtlebanon.org]
Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 2:50 PM
To: Nicholas Meduho Jr
Cc: <sfeller@mtlebanon.org>; Commission
Subject: Re: donations

The municipality was notified yesterday that the Endowment has an additional $6,195 in funds that have been collected through the Field Improvement Fund since their last contribution. Steve Feller has requested the funds and a check to the municipality should arrive soon. 

This will bring the total non-municipal contribution to $263,928.73.
On Jan 8, 2015, at 12:14 AM, Nicholas Meduho Jr wrote:
Mr. Feller and Commissioners,

On Monday evening during citizen comments I asked the following:
“Since July 10th when MLCE submitted a check for $15,267 for turf donations, have there been any additional donations made since that time to the MLCE. If so, in what amounts and have those fund been transferred to the municipality?” 
Because no one knew the answer to this question, can someone please take the time to find out the answer.

I have asked MLCE several times, they are refusing to answer this simple question.

Thank you,

Nicholas Meduho
Mt. Lebanon, PA

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Just like Commission, PG is irresponsible

In today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there is a correction.  Outdoors notebook: Hunting an option for Mt. Lebanon deer control
First, a correction. Mt. Lebanon's proposed Deer Management Archery Program on public properties -- suspended when Wildlife Management Unit 2B antlerless allocations sold out prior to the hunt -- included a provision stating, "Before an archer can harvest an antlered deer, he/she must harvest at least one antlerless deer." A December story wrongly stated that rule did not exist.
I am surprised that the troll cop from 9:16 PM who wrote this:
Also, Fraasch is incorrect about the need to seek Game Commission approval to hunt on private property.

sounds very much like:
"That's absolutely correct," said Mt. Lebanon police chief Coleman McDonough. "The Game Commission is accurate. If nobody is violating state game laws, hunting on private property is legal."

Do you suppose 9:39 AM from Lebo neighborhood has taken matters into their own hands and said:
Ok If you get it then stop whining about it. Also, before you or others get any ideas, It is specifically unlawful for anyone to interfere with or hinder a legal hunter while he or she is hunting.
And said:
The aformentioned law is what is to stop you.
knows Chief McDonough?  Why didn't 9:16/9:39 troll cop correct the PG when they made that statement?

The "good" news is now the PG is telling everyone that you can use any type of firearm on your property. Castle Shannon, Scott, Greentree, do you hear that? It isn't just in Mt. Lebanon. It is anywhere in the state. Feeling safe?

On the Tuesday, January 13 Discussion Session Agenda, there will be a thirty minute discussion on deer management.
6:30 P.M.
2. Follow-up on deer management.
Purpose: Review status of three applications for archery, trapping and sterilization to PA Game Commission and RFP for trap/euthanize services
Presenter: Tom Kelley, Coleman McDonough
Description: Provide commission with status update
I hope this will bring residents to the meeting. I don't know what else will.

Since the Chief and the PA Game Commission are advocating private hunting, I would like to see the $68,000 from the 2015 Budget and $12,000 from the 2014 Budget allocated for deer management removed and put into infrastructure. We should thank Kristen Linfante for dropping this bomb on us at the January 5 Discussion Session. We don't need funding anymore for deer management. Neighborhoods are taking matters into their own hands. Kristen, I know you wanted $100,000 set aside in the Budget for deer management. Thank you for being resourceful and finding a way to kill all of your deer for free.

Friday, January 9, 2015

ANOTHER consultant for the capital campaign? UPDATED

School board meeting agenda for Monday, January 12, 2015

John, is it in poor taste to complain about ANOTHER consultant for the capital campaign?
Independent Contractor Agreement – This is an agreement with Margaret M. Schmidt to provide consulting services for the capital campaign at a rate of $62.50 per hour, not to exceed $2,000 per month, up to a maximum of 32 hours per month. The Superintendent recommends approval of this agreement. Of course.
What is the number of people working on the capital campaign now, not including Pursuant Ketchum? Are we ever going to get an accounting of the funds?

Also on the agenda is the approval of Jan Klein's fake budget. It's a peach this year.

Preliminary Budget - Act 1 of 2006 requires the Board approve a Preliminary Budget on the State form before February 18, 2015. Since the Board’s February meeting is after that date, we are presenting the budget for approval in January. In order to preserve the Board’s right to apply for exceptions to the Index under Act 1, this budget necessarily exceeds the Index. In April, a Proposed Budget will be presented to the Board for consideration which will not have to have the same millage rate as the one presented for Board consideration this month. By that time, we will know our proposed State funding, preliminary staffing numbers, retirement projections, student 2 course selections and heath care rates. The Preliminary Budget totals $91,880,396 utilizing $750,000 of the fund balance with a millage rate of 23.81 mills, a .66 mill increase. Only a .44 mill increase is allowable under the Act 1 Index. The Superintendent recommends approval of this budget. Of course.
Finally, the January change orders are listed for approval.
Change Orders for High School Renovation Project – The change orders for the high school project total $68,519 this month with another $50,800 for insurance claims. The change orders are as follows: 
a. GC-109-262 to Nello for $60,909 for door, partition, wall, concrete and masonry work,
b. EL-74-263 to Farfield for $7,610 for piping, lights and safety revisions,
c. IN-09-11 to Farfield for $37,728 for cable repairs, and
d. IN-10-12 to McKamish for $13,072 for HVAC repairs. 
The Superintendent recommends approval of these change orders. Of course. 

Update January 13, 2015 5:38 PM Higher school taxes likely coming to Mt. Lebanon

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's in the news

Matt Santoni is reporting Mt. Lebanon residents reportedly plan private deer hunt. The question of the day is...well, I won't go there. Kristen Linfante is on record saying that it is happening and she is encouraging more of it.

I tried to inform the school district today about the hunt. In an email sent to the school board, superintendent, commission and municipal manager:
Since the Commission's School Board Liaison Kristen Linfante is going on a leave of absence, I wanted to bring this to your attention. This is a walking community, and the district has identified safe walking routes. Every street in Mt. Lebanon is listed. Here are the recommended safe walking routes. "For students in elementary school, locate your school map and find your address. You may then follow the blue arrows to the school." Following the blue arrows takes on a whole new meaning now, doesn't it?

Elaine Gillen
I only heard back from Kristen Linfante.
Dear Ms Gillen, 
I am not sure where you heard that I am on a leave of absence. You are mistaken. I am not. Please check the commission meeting video of January 5 where a clear explanation of my circumstances is available. I am facing a serious medical issue which *may* cause me to have to miss some meetings. For the sake of transparency, I wanted to make this known in the event that I do, in fact, miss any meetings. That is all.

As always, thanks for your good wishes, especially during this very challenging time. 
Best regards, 
Kristen Linfante
Commissioner, Ward 3

Of course I would hear from Kristen. Where is everyone else? Why isn't anyone calling her on this? Is there a freaking hunt or isn't there? Instead of condoning Kristen's efforts to terrorize parents with a secret cull, why didn't any commissioners put her on the spot during the discussion session? Was/Is there a hunt in reality or just in Kristen's mind? Why didn't Kristen say that, as school board liaison, she had it covered with the school district? No, I am mistaken. How did I ever get the idea that Kristen was taking a leave of absence? Why are our leaders putting up with this behavior?

Steve Feller was quoted in the Trib as saying, "There is no requirement for property owners to notify or consult with municipal officials about hunting.” Should property owners notify the school district, in order to update safe walking routes? Obviously, it isn't exciting school board president Larry Lebowitz and it is nothing for Timmy to tweet about. Mt. Lebanon is totally insane. Welcome to Mt. Looneytown.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Q&A about Kristen's Hunt UPDATED 2X

I emailed Commissioner Kelly Fraasch today, hoping to get some answers. Here is the email saved in Google Docs.

Kelly,

I am sorry that I chose to miss last night's meeting. It sounds like it was a humdinger! I am hearing lots of rumors and I have lots of questions. I hope you can answer them for me and clear up any rumors.

Where is the hunt occurring that Kristen spoke of last night?
Who was responsible for getting the program up and running? How did they do it?
Did other commissioners know about it? Did you know about it? Did Steve Feller know about it? The Chief? Public Works?
When we had the deer culling in 2006-08, Public Works was responsible for visiting the killing fields to make sure that the area was cleaned up. Is this being done for the private cull?
Who is responsible if there is an accident?
Have there been any complaints or reports concerning this activity?
The video of the meeting has not been posted. Is it being pulled?

Elaine Gillen

Kelly's response:

Hi Elaine,

First, I was very surprised last night hearing about such a program potentially being conducted. I didn't know anything about it.

I will say someone did ask me about conducting such a program (months ago) and I referred them to our Police Chief for information.
I never heard it amounted to anything, but if I did, I would have notified my fellow Commissioners and the staff right away.
I do believe if the staff knew about a serious inquiry or program actually being conducted they would have shared that information with the full Commission.
Even though we have no say as a municipality, I believe we all should have knowledge about such a program being conducted to help address any questions.

I am gathering from emails from Steve Feller that our staff is not aware of any program actually being conducted.
So that leads to your first question, where? I don't know and I am not 100% one is actually being conducted or was conducted in recent weeks.

Who was responsible for getting the program up and running? A private property owner can seek permission from the Game Commission without the municipality being notified.
However common sense would be with all of the municipality's communications with the PA Game Commission in recent weeks we would certainly hear about an inquiry or program within our neighborhoods.
Again, I am saying that would make sense, but I could be wrong.

Other Commissioners know? I don't know for sure, but I will say a couple of them looked just as surprised as I was.

I received an email earlier from Steve Feller and he indicated that he did not know about a program being conducted.
Chief McDonough was on the email chain and he didn't indicate that he had knowledge of such a program being conducted.

A couple of these I will need to verify with Phil.
Your next question is a guess, but if the program is on private land than all costs, maintenance and liability would be on that private property owner.
I checked with Phil, and it appears this is correct.

Who is responsible if there is an accident? My guess is the property owners that are hosting the program and complied with the Game Commission.
Information from Phil, Mt Lebanon has no liability to any accidents and therefore cannot also regulate any such program.

We have had complaints and notifications of potential hunting in Robb Hollow and McNeilly this year, but that is all that I have heard about.
When tree stands were discovered in McNeilly I alone heard from a handful of people, so I don't think someone can conduct a program without some neighbor being aware.
Obviously Steve Feller would know if complaints had come in, and again, he clearly stated by email that he had no knowledge of such a program being conducted in Mt Lebanon.

I am not sure why the video isn't up, but probably later today. If not by the end of the day, I will inquire.

You are not the only person inquiring about this issue today, so I will try and get back to you with any information as soon as I can.

This is my individual opinion that the PA Game Commission has regulations and rules for hunting but not for communities like Mt Lebanon.
All of these questions, which are basic/appropriate need to be addressed by the Game Commission.

The regulations/restrictions the Game Commission does have could be very appropriate for places that have acreage, but most definitely we cannot compare to such demographics with our smaller property sizes.
I hope the PA Game Commission will make amendments/review their process and program and seek some clarification on hunting regulations for places like Mt Lebanon. Obviously we cannot be the only community in PA trying to seek clarification and address these issues.

I am copying Phil if he has anything to add.

Best, Kelly

As of 5:49 PM on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, there are no meeting videos available. I did not hear anything from Phil Weis.

Update January 7, 2015 8:29 AM Latest email exchange with Kristen Linfante.

Update January 7, 2015 9:03 AM This is the last email exchange that I will be adding to the blog today, since I am just "fanning her flames." Kristen Linfante 8:52 AM email