Property Rights Rally Set On Behalf of 80-Year-Old Widow

Member Group : News Releases

October 11, 2009

For more information contact Jim Babb at 610-539-8825 or [email protected] or Ken Krawchuk at 215-881-9696 or [email protected]

The Abington Township Commissioners have begun unjustified legal proceedings to seize the property of Elizabeth Patane, an ailing 80-year-old widow who has made it clear she will fight the taking to the last inch. A rally in support of Mrs. Patane’s property rights will be held rain or shine on Saturday, October 17, 2009, featuring a march on the Abington Township building (but please no torches or pitchforks!).

Supporters will begin gathering at noon on Saturday in the parking lot of Mrs. Patane property, 1180 Easton Road, Roslyn Penna, 19001 ( The rally will be called to order at 1 PM, and at 1:15 will begin a march on the township building, making two twenty-minute stops along the way. The first will be at the home of Commissioner Lori Schreiber who first proposed the taking, and the second at the home of Commissioner John Carlin who voted in favor of it. The route will follow sidewalks through residential neighborhoods all the way, so it should be alright to bring the kids and strollers along.

By 3 PM the rally is expected to arrive at the Abington Township building, 1176 Old York Road, Abington Penna. 19001. Numerous dignitaries will be on hand to address the citizens, including Dick and Nancy Saha of Coatesville, who successfully fought back efforts by that town to seize their family farm. Also speaking are Pat Sellers of Chester County, a veteran of the Saha victory, and Ken Krawchuk, former Libertarian candidate for Pennsylvania Governor and a long-time Abington activist. In addition to members of the Patane family, every Abington Township Commissioner has also been invited to briefly address the rally (although none have yet accepted). Ceremonies are expected to conclude around 4 PM.

In addition to the big march on the township building, there will be two roving rallies, one before the march and one afterwards. The morning rally begins at 10 AM in Roychester Park, and will pay visits to the homes of three other commissioners who voted in favor of taking Mrs. Patane’s property: James Ring, Les Benzak, and board president Carol DiJoseph. The afternoon rally begins at 4:30 PM to visit the final three: Michael O’Connor, Steven Kline, and Ernie Peacock. A detailed itinerary can be found at, but is subject to change. Commissioners have until midnight Thursday to recant their vote in order to be dropped from the rally’s agenda.

According to Jim Babb, a long-time Libertarian activist and Montco’s representative on the state Libertarian Party’s board of directors, "We want to send a clear message to any politician thinking about stealing property for their special interest project: It’s a career ending move. The citizens will not sit idly by and let a neighbor’s property and livelihood be attacked."

Ken Krawchuk, co-organizer of the rally, agreed. "The message here is a simple one: the Abington Commissioners voted to confiscate an old lady’s property, and that’s just plain wrong. Even if they had a single good reason — which they haven’t — you don’t abuse the power of government to beat up on honest, law-abiding citizens."

According to official minutes posted at, the Abington Commissioners voted in February to use eminent domain to seize Mrs. Patane’s storefront property for use as a neighborhood library, even though the main township library is approximately one mile away and no other Abington neighborhood has its own library. Further, there was another building already for sale across the street from Mrs. Patane’s property which could have been purchased instead, and without litigation. Township officials have admitted that Mrs. Patane’s taxes were current and that there were no code violations or safety concerns. Still, Commissioner Peacock is on record saying, "Taking it is the right thing to do." Initial outlays for the Patane property are anticipated to be almost $2 million (not counting litigation), but the Abington Commissioners have stated on the record that they cannot say what the final cost might be, and that there is no fixed dollar amount or cost estimate for the project, nor any guarantee of success. The last high-profile taking in Abington ended up costing almost three times the property’s value due to costs of litigation, and Coatesville squandered $7 million attempting to seize the Saha farm before finally admitted defeat.

Founded in 1971, the Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the state and the nation, with hundreds of elected and appointed officials currently serving in office nationwide, and dozens in Pennsylvania. Like the Founding Fathers, Libertarians believe that you have a God-given, inalienable right to conduct your life as you see fit, without interference, so long as you respect the rights and property of others. For more information about the Libertarian Party, the public may contact the Montgomery County Libertarian Committee at or 610-539-8825, the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania at or (800) R-RIGHTS, or the National Libertarian Party at or (202) 333-0008.

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