Monday, June 15, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Golden v Gettysburg Council
Absolutely astonishing that we would ever, could ever, side with the Goldens against the Gettysburg Council, but on this latest issue we do. When the Gettysburg Borough Council formed its sub-committee on ordinances, they failed to include two things in their charter: a guarantee that the Sunshine law would be applicable to all the doings of the committee, and a rule requiring that no business be conducted without a quorum of members. The second item is extremely important, as elected officials tend to miss a lot of these meetings. When they are assigned to these sub-committee, they are there to provide guidance, and support, so when they bag a meeting they are failing in their duties, and cheating the taxpayers.

Then to turn around and hide behind a "potential" hole in the Sunshine Law is simply a gutless and potentially illegal practice which has already cost them legal expenses, time and of course, the usual heartburn that comes from dealing with the Goldens.

Borough Council stepped in it big time on this. They need to swallow hard, apologize and begin dealing in the open, as they are paid to do under the Sunshine law of this state. There is no excuse for a closed meeting when doing the public's business.

Meanwhile, Debi Golden embarasses herself with this display of hypocrisy. Suing one municipality by a member of a neighboring municipality's government, even when acting as a private citizen, is always a serious mistake, but to do so on the basis of the Sunshine law when she and the other members of the Cumberland Township Board of Supervisors consistantly hide behind "...we are not required...", "...we have no plans at this time...", and other lies, distortions and mistruths, and the ubiquitous disclaimer: executive sessions, is quite simply, the height of hypocrisy.

Doings at the Park
We are of the opinion that the current administration at the Gettysburg National Military Park has done and is doing a stellar job of maintaining and improving the Park's visitor experience. We have a near similar opinion of the Foundation. But we have to disagree with them on the announced fee increase going into effect tomorrow [Monday, June 15, 2009].

First, we think raising fees on such short notice is a bad practice. Equally bad is the practice of doing so in mid-season, especially in the current economy.

We would much rather have welcomed the news that the Museum portion of the fee structure had been eliminated. Actually, it is too bad the film linked with the Cyclorama Painting through the fee structure is not attracting interest like it should. Perhaps a film of the quality of the one shown at Antietam would peak more interest, along with a longer opportunity to view the Cyclorama painting after the show is over, and might give higher value for the fees, and attract more visitors to the venue.

On another tack, the parking situation leaves a bit to be desired. We are looking for Handicapped Parking to be moved to the "infield" adjacent to the Bus Drop-off section of the Visitor's Center. This would not require taking more ground, and would put the Handicapped on the same level as the entrance to the Visitor's Center. It might require expanding the bus driveway a bit to accomodate it, but a special parking lot for Handicapped would not only be appropriate, especially nearer to the entrance, but it would also allow the Park to do away with the Handicapped drop off lane, and expand the existing parking lot into that area. That should allow the addition of two more rows of non-handicapped parking. Moving the handicapped vehicles to the new [proposed] lot, would likely increase the amount of Handicapped spots available as well. Handicapped drop-off could be right outside the main entrance to the Visitor's Center.

We're sure the Park and Foundation have considered just that for parking, and more, and that they will come up with a workable solution to the parking problems.

A Pleasant Surprise
It was a very pleasant surprise to open up the Gettysburg Times Saturday and find not one single word about the Park and Dr. Latschar written by "Our Intrepid Reporter" with his poison pen. Ahhh weekends!


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