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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

West Easton Post Un-Dees-irable to Dees

There's something in the water in West Easton. Just a few days after getting on the ballot, and as a Democrat, in the West Easton Borough Council race, Matt Dees has decided to withdraw. Why? "Because I won't allow myself to be a lump in a seat, who is expected to sit down and shut up, unless they want me to propose something, so it wouldn't appear as coming from them."

"I won't allow my ethics to be compromised by politics and the expectation that I'll be a lap dog," he claims. I would expect that to be a reason for running, not withdrawing.


Anonymous said...

Oh boy! If there is ever a reason to run for office, they just put it right in his hands! He shouldn't have withdrew. If what he says is true, he should have went full speed ahead. This is America, is isn't? What was the worse that they could do to him, if he won? Not talk to him. That would be great!

Anonymous said...

West Easton is one inbreed mess. I beleive one family pretty much owns the government there.

WestEastonPA.com said...

To jump head first into a shallow pond, when you know that you are going to smash your head against rocks, doesn't accomplish anything more than getting your skull crushed. Twenty years ago I was stupid enough not to hesitate. Now I'm older and a little smarter (I hope).

At this point it's better I stay outside the clique and choose a better entry point on my own terms, at a later date.

As I conveyed to Bernie, I don't hate anyone currently sitting in West Easton. However, I have a fundamental difference of opinion with the lack of transparency and how the Sunshine Law was abused.

There was definitely a misjudgement on both sides. They misjudged me as being someone who didn't have any ethics when they invited me in and I misjudged them in believing the reasons I was told when that invitation was given.

I woke up to that fact in an incident that can be found in my withdrawal statement at www.deesforcouncil.com.

BTW Bernie,
I was Dees-appointed with the title of your post.

Matthew A. Dees

Anonymous said...

Read the withdrawal statement, you have to be kidding???? Withdrawing from office because the law was being followed??? Would suggest Mr. Dees learn about the Right to Know law that was forced down the throat of every public entity in the State. Seems like he was going to get what he wanted after a process was followed. Isn't government about following a process?

Anonymous said...

So, you think the law was intended to provide a a governing body the right to pick and choose who can and can not receive information already approved for public release? He wasn't asking for financial statements, or anything else out of the ordinary that a person would ask for. Approved minutes of meetings are available to the public on demand, as are blank applications for work in the borough. Most governments around West Easton not only have minutes publicly displayed on a website they run, but some even post videos of meetings online. I wonder how happy you'd be if you went to get an application to build a deck, install a pool, or replace your roof, and be told to fill out an RTK request for a 30 delay to decide if they'll give you that application, because they have to find out if it exists and if something in it needs to be redacted - while paying a lawyer to review it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

West Easton is a tiny municipality with a small staff. It is ridiculous to think you can walk in there, snap your fingers and expect something to be immediately available. I file more RTKs than most and even I understand that much.

Anonymous said...

Municipal politics is hand-to-hand combat and not for the faint of heart.

The Borough of Chapman
(potential site of 2016 RNC convention)

Anonymous said...

I do not live or work in West Easton Borough but I have a good grasp of Pennsylvania's new Right-to-Know Law (RTKL), which went into effect in 2009. I have represented clients for more than 25 years and I know that most people don't understand the law or our legal system.

Mr. Dees apparently is outraged that the Borough invoked an extension of time to process his records request. He seems to think this was an abuse of the law. He seems to think that this amounts to a "lack of transparency." He's so outraged that he withdrew his candidacy for public office.

I recommend that Mr. Dees read the RTKL before making accusations about abuse and lack of transparency. Under the law, a municipality has five business days to respond to a request. If a response is not provided within that short time period, the request is "deemed denied." Hence the need for more time.

I suggest that invoking Section 902 of the RTKL (extension of time up to 30 additional days) was actually a lawful attempt to be transparent by heading off a deemed denial, which I'm sure would have been less acceptable to Mr. Dees.

Finally, in most small municipalities, the office employees are extremely busy doing their jobs to the best of their abilities while dealing with an impatient, demanding and sometimes ungrateful public.

Anonymous said...

"Approved minutes of meetings are available to the public on demand, as are blank applications for work in the borough."

Sorry, Anonymous 7:32 AM. Minutes and other public records are not available "on demand." Access is subject to the time periods in the law, either five business days or five business days plus an additional 30 day extension of time. Don't spread misinformation. If you disagree with the law, lobby to have it changed.

Anonymous said...

Shame on Mr. Dees to expect a small borough like W.Easton to be able to find some work applicatins and minutes of recent council meetings without giving them more than a month to gather all those reams of papers. Weaston's two clerks have enough to do with the lines of people waiting at the window and all that comotion inside their huge complex. Everyone has to wait over 30 days and fill out an RTKL when they want copies of items already approved for public distrbution. How can any local government function if people are able to just be given a blank form upon requwst, without making us feel as though we're indebted to them for allowing us to have it. And council minutes? God forbid, that after the 30 days it takes for them to be approved for the public to see, that they don't take another 35 days to find them and decide if they can be released to people they don't want to have them.
It's all within the Right To Know Law. The ability to place bureaucracy in the way of simplicity. Certainly BOH has had to file more than one RTKL request in order to see approved council minutes as these and blank applications must certainly be pratected by requiring the RTKL be followed.

Section 305. Presumption.

(a) General rule. — A record in the possession of a Commonwealth agency or local agency shall be presumed to be a public record. The presumption shall not apply if:

(1) the record is exempt under section 708; [708 deals mainly with security, privacy, and safety]

(2) the record is protected by a privilege; or

(3) the record is exempt from disclosure under any other Federal or State law or regulation or judicial order or decree.

Those blank applications and aproved minutes should take a lot longer than 35 days to be reviewed by their attorney.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:23 PM, as I understand it the issue isn't whether the requested documents are public records. Clearly, they are. The issue is the timing of their release. You may not like it, but extending the response time is allowed under the law. You quote Section 305. Look up Sections 901 and 902.

Anonymous said...

"West Easton is a tiny municipality with a small staff. It is ridiculous to think you can walk in there, snap your fingers and expect something to be immediately available. "

Yopu have no idea what you are talking about. Back in the day Dick Foster and Donna Smith ran the show, and information was free flowing and readily available to anyone who wanted it.

Problem is , now you have a Borough Council President that was born and bred a monster by her bi-=polar father, and has taken this town straight to hell on a one way train. She is missing her frontal lobe, because her foul mouth caused her to be beaten almost to death, when she launched her acid tongue at the wrong person.

Kelly Gross detests the right ot know law because she runs the entire place like a mom and pop grocery store, doesnt keep adequate financila records, and is likely robbing the place blind. She has a history of filling up her gas tank on the public till with regularity.

She controls every bank account, controls the mail and is the only person with passwords to get into the system. The amount od secrecy and a total lack of accountability and tranparency is purely frightening.

The clerks sit on their fat asses all day eating bon bons.

Get your facts straight before you spew your hatred and venom asshole

Anonymous said...

After making his demand I mean request, Mr. Dees' words were, "I didn't think those rules pertained to me."

We were quite Dees-appointed with his attitude.

Da' Councilor said...

anon 5:00 PM, isn't time to take your alleged and supposed drug cocktail?

WestEastonPA.com said...

Before this little blip of an inconsequential post about my withdrawal gets more discussion than it deserves (or other crazies start giving analogies about dogs), let me state this has less to do with a 30 day extension, than it does with a governing body deciding what is public and what isn't. Who they want to give information to and who they don't.

To make it clear, the items I asked for are known to exist and would have been given to me until it was realized that I would be using them as download items on my website. That's when the brakes were put on releasing them. I was directly told that they didn't want minutes or applications easily accessed by the public - That they wanted to control the flow of information. All of it. This is when we butted heads and I realized there is a lot of paranoia in that building and I was expected to vote their way, or propose things, so it wouldn't seem like it was coming from them.

Has anyone visited their "official" website? It's been stagnant for more than a year with a "we're updating" message because they don't want to provide information. They don't even want the public to know who works for the borough.

One Anon called me, "outraged." Extremely disappointed would be more accurate. I only get outraged when I see illegal cat juggling in professional ball player's basements.

In response to Bernie, who made it appear I expected items when I "snapped" my fingers, that is far from the truth. I had discussed and verbally asked for them more than a week before having to submit the RTKL Request. As I said, resistance came when I mentioned why I wanted them. Bernie considers himself a friend to a couple of West Easton Council members. I would expect him to write as he sees fit on his own blog. It's a rare political blogger who gets his facts straight.

The last thing I wanted to do was submit an RTK for such simple documentation. Two people who run that council decided to drag it out for no other reason than to delay the inevitable and prove a point to me - that being they don't have to turn over anything they don't want to. How much, if anything will the lawyer, Layman, cost the borough as the RTK Officer in this matter, I don't have a clue. Are they are ignorant enough to deny the request? Don't know that either, but the cost to the taxpayers would only increase due to an appeal being filed.

For those who might understand small town politics, I'm not going to be installed by a couple of individuals who run the council and think that I owe them down the road. If that's what they want they should keep installing what they have been, when good people have left.

Should I run in the future it will by on my own merits and if successful I'll owe nobody, anything. I also won't hold a grudge. My absence will give me time to learn how to be a politician.


“I just stepped in shit, and now I’ve got a politician all over my shoes. 
” ~ Jarod Kintz, This Book Has No Title

WestEastonPA.com said...



This isn't about you and don't try to use it for your own election. Just because I disagree with them on this one matter that involves my own request, does NOT mean I agree with what you've been spewing.

I can still disagree with them, but respect them for everything else they do for the borough. Unlike you, I don't think any one of them is evil, corrupt, or otherwise unfit to serve.

I should have clarified that the paranoia I mentioned among them was generated by you.

Stay out of it.

Matthew A. Dees

Anonymous said...

Mr. Dees,

You are misinformed. The "governing body" doesn't decide what is public and what isn't, and who they want to give information to and who they don't.

Those decisions are made by the Borough's Open Records Officer, Peter Layman, who is an attorney. He is guided by the Right to Know statute and by the legal precedents. And, if a requester disagrees with him, there is a simple appeal process to the state Office of Open Records. Appeals are handled through the exchange of emails and are decided within 30 days.

You can thank Ms. Mezzacappa for having to fill out a records request form. If you were given favored treatment, she would have been screaming about a violation of her civil right to "equal protection" and threatening a federal lawsuit. If you consider that to be paranoia, then so be it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5 PM (a.k.a. Tricia Mezzacappa): You are good at lying, name calling and hurling insults. But as a human being you are a miserable failure. You want to see a real monster, look in the mirror. You want to trash talk someone else's father? Yours is dead so he's spared the humiliation of watching his sorry excuse for a daughter embarrass the family name. If daddy were alive, he probably would advise you to grow up and act like an adult, not a spoiled brat. Glad that Mr. Dees clarified that any "paranoia" that may exist at the Borough Hall "was generated by you."

Anonymous said...

I don’t normally comment but just for the record, I have no adverse feelings toward the Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law (RTKL), it provides all citizens the right of access to public records, and sets forth the conditions under which a document maintained by an agency is deemed a public record. It also imposes time limits which an agency must respond to requests for public records, and provides a process whereby the requester may file an appeal when a request for information is denied in whole or part. It is more work for the agency receiving the requests however; it is a decent way to keep all agencies and requesters adhering to the same principles, forms, etc.
The reasonable requester cares about the documents and/or records they'd like copied or would like to inspect. They pick up and pay for or inspect their documents in a timely fashion after they are notified their requested items are available and do not cause heartburn for anyone. The reasonable requester does NOT use the Right to Know Law as retaliation when they do not agree or are held accountable for inappropriate actions or choices.
One last item, all of the employees of the Borough of West Easton are competent, flexible, good hearted individuals…besides that they have put up with Mz. 5PM for over 2 years and are still there!
Thank you – Kelly Gross

Anonymous said...

Kelly read trishes latest blog

Anonymous said...

To Readers of LVR: Please compare the comment of Kelly Gross at 7:56 PM with the comment of Tricia Mezzacappa at 5 PM. Quite a contrast. Kelly is a thoughtful, responsible elected official. Tricia is...well, you can understand why she has a couple disorderly conduct convictions.

WestEastonPA.com said...

To those who may read Mezzacappa's blog for amusement value, I was just notified that a comment has appeared on her blog that uses my name as the author. I just sent her the following comment:
Remove that comment that uses my name and insults Kelly Gross. No discussion. You monitor your blog and are responsible for what you allow on it. On the remote chance you didn't write it, in the future make sure it was from me before putting it on your blog and I can assure you I will not be leaving comments, other than this one.
Matthew A. Dees

I don't know if she'll allow my comment to appear, but be aware that anything as vile as what was said under the guise of being me, did not come from me.