Where are the Local’s plans for the future?

At the end of a long CHCA meeting, the budget for the Local and the CHCA was brought up. Forgive that “long CHCA meeting” reference for being tautologically abusive. In the last election, less than 200 votes were counted for the CHCA board. More people voted for who would be the treasurer of the Chestnut Hill Bocce Club than our elected representatives in 19118. That is about half the number of dimples on a golf ball. Lots of big things are at stake though.

Chestnut Hill is unique, but for how long? In Chestnut Hill we have a vibrant weekly newspaper. The CHCA, of course, owns the Local; 19118 owns the CHCA. What are we doing about it? Nowhere in the budget discussions has the elephant in the room been discussed. Where is the online growth? Who is protecting the Local for the future?

The last owner of “Fred’s Buggy Whips” might have made an excellent product, but unless it was looking to automobiles, the math is obvious. Henry Ford was rightly obsessed with cars and not fast horses.

We all enjoy the print product the Local produces. If you are a fan of the Internet or Facebook you can also see how the Local is more than a once-a-week treat, as it makes a daily impact in Chestnut Hill via its online operation. The editorial model is there, where is the business model?

Forbes shares the lay of the land across the country:

“Online Will Pass Print for First Time in 2012: US online advertising spending, which grew 23 percent to $32.03 billion in 2011, is expected to grow an additional 23.3 percent to $39.5 billion this year-pushing it ahead of total spending on print newspapers and magazines, according to eMarketer. Print advertising spending is expected to fall to $33.8 billion in 2012 from $36 billion in 2011.”

What about the future of the paper? The Local has no plans for online revenue growth, and no one seems to mind. Does fiduciary oversight mandate a wilful state of oblivion to all publishing realities?

For a decade we have seen print decline in revenue and circulation while for the same decade online readership and advertising grows by double digits year over year. This is not that hard. Print is down, online is skyrocketing – what does one do with these simple facts?

For almost two years, the Local said online growth was essential. It is. The Local said that it should grow revenue. It said it could grow revenue, it said it would grow revenue. OK. When – at long last? U.S. newspaper circulation is at the lowest point in seven decades. The Local is keeping pace with that trend. How about the double digit growth in revenue exploding all around 19118 but untapped here?  That is a trend worth engaging.

Gerald Tracy
Chestnut Hill

Gerald Tracy is business development and vendor relations manager for phillyBurbs.com. He has been a director in print and online media for more than 15 years.

The quitters, the practicals, and the old 

The editor took the heavy lift two weeks ago  with two lead articles plus the editorial, and they are related.

A new business, Rita’s Water Ice, “pulled the plug,” choosing not to fight the uphill battle to be part of our neighborhood because it wasn’t worth the fight against one foe who was admittedly “the only person within 750 feet who could challenge Rita’s.” This was despite the endorsement of the CHCA.

A new business, Children of America, is still coming to Chestnut Hill as a matter of right without the endorsement of the CHCA. Yet the editorial [“For businesses, being a good neighbor is not necessarily a prerequisite”] suggests it does not intend to be a “good neighbor” because it did not voluntarily spend money for a traffic study that was not required.

An old business, Diane Bryman, is lauded for 50 years of presence on the Avenue. The namesake moved on to a new life and name while the successor enjoyed 35 years of employment and 20 years at the helm. Unless he wants to change his business plan, it might be a good time to retire.

I’m sorry to hear that Rita’s wimped out. Even the owner said he would have won, but the community’s endorsement was apparently not enough to deter a self-proclaimed bully.

Thank goodness that Children of America had the good sense to not play in the sandbox with the CHCA. They should not be accused of being unconcerned with their need to be good neighbors.

As to Diane Bryman, the founder has moved on and so will the current proprietor. There appears to be little interest in 75 year-old-rugs. Even at 40 percent off, these purchases are not in the impulse aisle.

The rug store is not worthy of our tears, except as another vacant storefront. Will the (hopefully) new tenant have to beg for the endorsement of the CHCA and will that be enough to satisfy its competitors?

Ed Budnick
Chestnut Hill

Thanks to the deer protestors

Philadelphia Advocates for the Deer (PAD) has been present in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood, both in the shopping district and in Fairmount Park, holding protests since January 2012.

Every month, two to three protests were held to collect signatures for our petition to the Commission on Parks and Recreation, asking for a meeting to discuss humane alternatives for the deer and to stop the killing. We also distributed literature about the 13 consecutive years of deer being killed in the Wissahickon Park and humane alternatives for the deer.

In addition we gave out literature about safe fencing for the deer to decrease the numerous incidents of deer being maimed or killed when jumping over fences that have metal or wooden spikes along the top, or spaces under fences where they can get caught and hurt.

PAD wants to thank the many people who stopped to sign our petition and to talk about their opinions about the deer killing.

Many neighbors were unaware and angry that deer were being killed in our neighborhood without their knowledge. PAD would also like to thank the Chestnut Hill Local for publicizing our protests and Letters to the Editor that were published about issues related to the deer.

PAD will continue working on the important issue of saving the deer of Fairmount Park, including the Wissahickon.

Chestnut Hill residents have the opportunity to work together to stop the 14th year of killing deer in the park. Please contact me if you would like to be involved.

Mary Ann Baron
PAD Founder
Chestnut Hill