Fire and Motion:

Lessons from Software,

How Battles Are Won


One of the most fascinating blogs on the Internet, at least for computer programmers (like me), is run by a New York City software developer named Joel Spolsky at the website  He writes with common sense, and does so extremely well.  One of his essays in particular, Fire and Motion, describes quite nicely how the most fundamental of military tactics can be applied to winning contests outside the field of battle.  The notion is simple: Use covering fire to stay in motion.  Change the attack constantly.  Keep the other guy off guard.  Do not allow your opponent to choose the terms of engagement.  Joel said it much better in his article.


I’m trying to provide as much motion as possible, but at this point I think it would also be good to ramp up the cover fire, too.  This page provides some suggested e-mail addresses and web-mail-enabled sites to which you may wish to write.


Most of the listings below also show some of the results from the 39 rider questionnaires I collected at the train station for Congressman Fitzpatrick.  Questionnaires mailed in to his office are not, at this point, included in the tally.  Both absolute numbers and percentage of riders represented by the various individuals in government are given.


The Heads of the Five Major Transportation Organizations Deciding The Fate of Cornwells Heights


I would suggest politely but firmly requesting that these individuals cooperate to solve our station’s problems.  You may wish to cite some of the arguments advanced elsewhere on this website.                            Mr. David Gunn, Amtrak President and CEO                                    Ms. Faye Moore, SEPTA General Manager                    Mr. Allen Biehler, Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation                  Mr. George Warrington, New Jersey Transit Executive Director                                  Mr. John Coscia, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Executive Director


[Note: E-mail sent to Mr. David Gunn and to Mr. George Warrington may “bounce back” as undeliverable.  Neither of them appear to have ever published an e-mail address that would allow members of the general public to write to them directly.  Undeliverable messages, however, are usually kept and occasionally scanned through by the receiving website.  If either Mr. Gunn or Mr. Warrington would like to see their “undeliverable” messages, they can certainly do so.]


Members of the U.S. House of Representatives with Cornwells Heights Riders as Constituents


Generally speaking, Representatives are quite sympathetic with constituents’ concerns.  Representative Michael Fitzpatrick is currently leading the fight to keep our station alive.  (You don’t need to argue the merits with him, but thanking him or giving him a good new piece of ammunition is a good reason to write.)  Of the six congressional districts from which Cornwells Heights draws ridership, two are in New Jersey.     27 (69%) Representative Michael G. Fitzpatrick      PA District  8               7 (18%) Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz         PA District 13            2 ( 5%) Representative Robert E. 'Rob' Andrews     NJ District  1             1 ( 2%) Representative H. James 'Jim' Saxton       NJ District  3        1 ( 2%) Representative Robert A. Brady             PA District  1             1 ( 2%) Representative Chaka Fattah                PA District  2


Members of the U.S. Senate with Cornwells Heights Riders as Constituents


Senator Arlen Specter has already sent a letter of concern to David Gunn regarding Amtrak issues, including Amtrak’s abandonment of Cornwells Heights.  It is noteworthy that 8% of the riders surveyed drove to Cornwells Heights from New Jersey.  Cornwells Heights is the most convenient Amtrak stop for nearby sections of New Jersey.              36 (92%) Senator Arlen Specter                      PA Whole State             36 (92%) Senator Richard J. 'Rick' Santorum         PA Whole State               3 ( 8%) Senator Jon Stevens Corzine                NJ Whole State            3 ( 8%) Senator Frank R. Lautenberg                NJ Whole State

State Governors with Cornwells Heights Riders as Constituents


Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell may be able to exercise influence over Amtrak Keystone trains – perhaps enough to save the station – and investigate and manage state contracts with Amtrak.  New Jersey Governor Codey may or may not even be aware that the people of his state may lose Amtrak access if Cornwells Heights is taken off Amtrak’s schedule.        36 (92%) Governor Edward G. 'Ed' Rendell            PA Whole State         3 ( 8%) Governor Richard J. Codey                  NJ Whole State


Bensalem’s Pennsylvania State Senator and State Representative


These are the local men who fight for right and justice in Harrisburg.  Check if you don’t live in Bensalem and want to find out who fights for right for you.                   15 (38%) State Senator Robert M. 'Tommy' Tomlinson  PA District  6                15 (38%) Representative Gene D. DiGirolamo          PA District 18


Newspaper ‘Letters to the Editor’ Addresses


Newspapers discovered spam long before the Internet.  They value letters that appear specifically crafted for their particular subscriber audience.  If they think other papers got the same letter, it’s less likely to be considered for reporting action or publication.  I’m partial to playing on the theme of the station that Amtrak ran as a covert operation for eight years (where even the station manager didn’t know when the Keystones and Clockers would run -- sort of like the movie Chinatown, but with trains instead of water), one hour outside Manhattan on the Northeast Corridor in a great neighborhood with 800 parking spaces we can’t even give away.  Truly stranger than fiction.           Bucks County Courier Times Opinion Editor Mr. Guy Petroziello     The Philadelphia Inquirer                             The New York Times


Helpful Websites for Finding Out Who One’s Governmental Representatives Are                 - A good place to find the elected officials in your area

PA congressional district maps       - Districts: Bucks 8, Montgomery 13+8, NE Philadelphia 13+8+1+2

NJ congressional district maps       - Districts: Camden 1, Cinnaminson 3


If You Would Like to CC This Website for the Record…                 - A log of letters sent to transit organizations, politicians, and newspapers



Good luck with the writing.  Clean but firm usually does the trick.


– Rick