On Jack Markell

Filed in National by on February 15, 2011

A number of Delaware’s bloggers were invited to a Governor’s Roundtable with Governor Markell this morning at his offices in Wilmington. Cassandra, Unstable Isotope, Jason330, El Somnabulo, and myself attended from Delaware Liberal, as well as Nancy Willing from the Delaware Way, and Tom Noyes from Tommywonk. The good folks at Delaware Politics were also invited, but David Anderson indicated that they would not be able to come. As an aside, and maybe it is a measure of Delaware Liberal’s success in attracting so many contributors to its ranks, but I am not pleased that the blogosphere in general (progressive and conservative) seems to have shrunk. But that is an issue I will address in another post later today.

The Governor invited us to this roundtable for two reasons. The first was stated, the second less so but obvious nonetheless. First, it has been nearly two years since our last meeting in March 2009. Personally I was shocked by that, and I thought there had other meetings more recently and frequently. But I suppose that is a function of living in a small state where I get to see and speak with Governor Markell and Senator Coons and Congressman Carney and Senator Carper and Lt. Governor Denn on a number of occassions. So we need to schedule these meetings more frequently. And I imagine they will be scheduled more frequently as 2012 approaches.

Secondly, this roundtable was scheduled so that Governor could push back against recent criticism from some corners, including here at Delaware Liberal, that his budget did not reflect progressive priorities, and that those who were hurt the most by the Great Recession are being asked to sacrifice the most, while those who suffered the least are being protected the most. El Som made that criticism both here at DL and to the Governor this morning. You can tell that criticism stings him, so he wanted a chance to respond, a chance I will give to him now. El Som, Unstable Isotope, Cassandra and perhaps even our illustrious founder, Jason330, will offer their takes on today’s meeting in either separate posts or in the comments below.

First off, the Governor does not view governing as a battle. Politics and elections may be a battle, and Jack Markell has suited up for those battles in the past and will again in the future. But he said he is the Governor of the all Delawareans, not just those that who happen to be Democrats and not just those who agree with him on the issues. He said he prefers the respective engagement and discussion in governing as opposed to the conflict style that other governors in other states employ, such as Chris Christie in New Jersey or Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Jack Markell is obviously an man of opinion and ideas, otherwise he wouldn’t be Governor in the first place. But in governing, his opinions and ideas take a back seat until he has heard all sides. For example, I asked him about the possibility of the General Assembly passing a bill allowing medical marijuana and would he sign it if it got to his desk. He said he is not sure yet, though he is aware of the medical pain relieving benefits it has. He said he has met with advocates for the allowance of medical marijuana, but he has not yet met with opponents, and he has to study the issue more, including what other states have done.

Now, could that be a dodge? Sure. Medical Marijuana is a political hot potato. But I think I am going to give the Governor the benefit of the doubt on this because he seemed sincere in his view of governing. And if he were to answer my question the way I wanted him to (“Why yes, I am for medical marijuana in Delaware, but I will have to look at the bill to see if certain concerns are addressed”), it will appear to opponents of medical marijuana that he has a closed mind to their concern.

Second, Jack Markell is a good politician. He was asked about marriage equality, another hot potato, by Unstable Isotope, who will offer her opinion on the topic and the Governor’s answer later today. Markell said he is for civil unions and has been focused on getting that bill through the General Assembly. He would not answer U.I.’s follow-up about full fledged marriage equality, saying that he had not considered marriage equality because he was focused on passing the Civil Unions bill. Now, this answer will piss Progressives off as it will be seen as a less than full throated support for equality, one more equivocation to a group tired of equivocations from the politicians it supports.

But let’s consider for the moment why he gave that answer. Passing the Civil Union bill is not as easy a slam dunk that we all think it is. It is going to be a close vote. Apparently a number of legislators are concerned that allowing Civil Unions is a stepping stone to allowing full marriage equality, and apparently to them that is a bad thing. Many politicians, including President Obama, and many citizens, support civil unions but oppose marriage equality, although Obama recently said his views are evolving on the marriage issue. It makes no logical sense to us, because you are either for discrimination or against it. Yet, there are those who want to allow gays to have the legal benefits of marriage but they have this mental block when it comes to allowing gay marriage. Yet, over time, we find more and more people, even Republicans and conservatives, approving of gay marriage. Why? Well, because it is a generational issue, with the dying off older generations opposed and the younger generations seeing no problem with it. And support for it increases once people see that the world does not end once gay relationships are given legal status. Indeed, it is particularly helpful to see that Massachusetts, Iowa, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and, for a time, California all did not fall into the sea or descend into Hell merely because they allowed gay marriage.

Governor Markell did not say he was opposed to marriage equality, and he did not say he is for it. He is playing the waiting game, with a focus on passing Civil Unions bill first to allow time for opinions to evolve. That’s smart politics. But it angers some of us because it is pragmatic.

Indeed, the Governor’s answers to our questions revolved around that central theme of pragmatism versus purity. He describes his job as a “balancing act.” His administration has to attract businesses to Delaware and getting them to create jobs here. His administration has to keep businesses that are already here from not only laying off more people, but to create jobs. He has to submit a balanced budget that provides enough revenue for essential services, that makes sure that every Delawarean can get a good job, send their children to good schools all the while breathing clean air and drinking clean water. So, would he want to create new tax brackets on upper incomes to raise more revenue so that he would not have to cut benefits or state jobs or services? Sitting across from him this morning, I got the impression that he might, but can’t.

Jack Markell is a businessman, and he knows how other businessmen think. He knows what is on their pro v. con balance sheet when it comes to making big decisions on relocation or hiring and firing. When comes to jobs and taxes and budgetary matters in the State of Delaware, he is very much aware that Delaware is but one player in a competition of many. He believes that in order to attract jobs and businesses, Delaware must remain an attractive place to do business, and that means reasonable taxes, fees and regulations.

But does that mean he would engage in a race to the bottom, gutting regulations and cutting taxes and insert loopholes whenever a business makes such a demand? He says no, and that he has said no to such businesses making such demands And Jack Markell has not been afraid to raise fees and taxes when closing the budget deficit demanded it. In fact, in 2009, (and they probably don’t want this headline), the Markell Administration presided over the largest tax increase in Delaware’s history. He has sought a more equitable division of revenues between the casinos and the state. He has raised the Estate Tax. He has raised fees. All to raise money to balance the budget and avoid cutting essential services. Indeed, Markell points out that his budget provides more money for foster care, for the employment of the cognitively disabled, and more funding to hire more teachers.

So Governor Markell chaffes at suggestions that his budget requires no sacrifice from more affluent while cutting services for the poor. He also chaffes at the notion that his administration has not accomplished many progressive goals. He read off a list of those accomplishments at the end of our meeting: the eminent domain bill, the FOIA bill, the civil rights bill for gays and lesbians, expanding CHIP, extending Protection from Abuse Orders from one to two years, the four gun control proposals he has made recently, protecting Medicaid from cuts so far, and he is proud of not only providing funding for 100 new teachers two years in a row but also Delaware’s success in the Race to the Top program.

That this blogger roundtable even occurred today or in March 2009 shows that he Jack Markell respects our opinions and wants our support. Has he done enough so far? The answer to that question depends on how you view politics: through a purist or a pragmatist prism? He would argue, and I would agree, that he has achieved a number of progressive goals, listed above. And that he has gone about balancing the budget in a relatively progressive manner, rather than slashing services and jobs. He believes his administration and the way it has been conducted thus far should be seen in contrast to such Republican debacles in Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas. And in a country where everyone is asking “Where are the jobs?,” Governor Markell can be credited with attracting new businesses and new jobs to vacant refineries and automotive plants.

Is there more to be done? I think the Governor would agree that his job is not over, and I even think he is going to ask for a contract extension next year. So obviously he thinks there is more to be done.

So those are my voluminous thoughts, trying as best I can to relay the Governor’s message. I do this because I view politics through a pragmatic prism. I look forward to reading my colleague’s opinions as well as our commenters.

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  1. Marriage Equality vs. Civil Unions : Delaware Liberal | February 16, 2011
  1. donviti says:

    As an aside, and maybe it is a measure of Delaware Liberal’s success in attracting so many contributors to its ranks, but I am not pleased that the blogosphere in general (progressive and conservative) seems to have shrunk. But that is an issue I will address in another post later today.

    let me know if you need some insights on this topic

  2. anon says:

    and, did you all sing his praises?

  3. anon says:

    Too bad you didnt ask questions that would have helped reduce the budget. l) Consider single payer health care. Would save the State $4million a day! 2) Reduce the prison population, we cant afford to continue jailing citizens for non violent crimes? 3) End all these school districts robbing the students of money for their education.

  4. anon says:

    What about corporate welfare? How many corporations in this state still owe taxes? Why did the State give Charlie Copeland a 5 year contract for the “states” printing? Why not give some other people a shot, perhaps some smaller business owner? Why is the State cutting people off medicaid and foodstamps? Why, Why, Why?

  5. Gov. Markell did an excellent job of laying out his record and his priorities. It indeed is a very impressive record.

    On the matter of fairness when it comes to sharing the sacrifice in tough economic times, and especially when it comes to requiring those at the top of the heap to sacrifice even a little, Gov. Markell was quite clear on his position even if he did not actually say the words.

    He stated (and, please, correct me if any of you at the meeting believe I’m not properly describing this) that his focus is first and foremost on attracting businesses and jobs to Delaware. He said that, whether we like it or not, the tax burden on those who would consider moving to Delaware, i.e., the big fish who make the decisions, is a consideration along with other ‘quality of life’ issues like education and infrastructure. He doesn’t want any unreasonable impediments to jobs and business growth. He said that the raising of the estate tax has already led to several prominent Delawareans (we’d recognize their names, he said) ‘leaving’ Delaware, at least to the point that their official permanent residences are in other states for 51% of the year. I am disappointed in his position, as I consider it a ‘too rich to tax equitably’ policy.

    Having said that, it would be difficult to hope for a governor more on top of complex issues and more engaged in governing. His level of understanding is so strong that he even knew what Tommywonk was talking about and could hold a detailed discussion about it.

    He has an overarching vision for the state, and he’s done an incredible amount in two years. I don’t know if any governor has done as much on environmental issues, and in a manner that promises to create a lot of long-term employment while reducing our environmental problems. He cited the NRG plant in Dagsboro as an example of how cleaning up a noxious facility has led to hundreds of jobs while improving the environmental quality of life for that area of the state.

    Bottom line: While I’m disappointed in his position on the equitable sharing of sacrifice, I don’t think there’s anyone else in the state that I’d rather have as Governor during these times. When you see some governors, most recently that Walker guy in Wisconsin, the loon down in Arizona, and others abdicating any pretense toward actually governing, having someone as smart, engaged, and determined as Jack Markell guiding our state is…quite reassuring.

  6. Obama2008 says:

    I think the Governor’s response to the criticisms was a good one. I am basically satisfied with it. Maybe I will quibble with it a little bit later.

  7. Anon, the ‘single-payer’ was sort-of mentioned in passing. As to the jailing of non-violent offenders, I think that Gov. Markell is already on record in support of Rep. George’s legislation that would positively affect this and minimize the number, and length, of sentences, for non-violent drug offenders.

  8. anon says:

    Single payer was sort of mentioned? The one issue that is a cure for this state for the health and well being of its citizens and if passed would have corporations packing up to come here! No corporation wants to be in the business of health care nor should they be. If Vermont passes theirs first and they have the Senate, House and the Governor on board…Delaware another small state will lose its opportunity to be the First to do it. New Hampshire and California and perhaps Penna will go first, Delaware will be last, as usual. I urge you to check the campaign contributions of all the republicans and some democrats in this state. The health care lobbyists have filled their coffers to make sure it doesnt go anywhere. If Jack were the real leader we want him to be, he would at least hold hearings and get the facts on the dollars we could save. But, as you stated “he is a businessman”!

  9. Newshound says:

    “He said he prefers the respective engagement and discussion in governing as opposed to the conflict style that other governors in other states employ, such as Chris Christie in New Jersey or Scott Walker in Wisconsin.”

    I’m curious. Was the Christie and Walker reference Gov. Markell’s words or your words?

    I think Christie is doing a phenomenal job, as does many in his own state, including Democrats and Independents alike. He is doing something that is rare and refreshing in politics – he’s confronting reality without a politicians’ I-need-to-get-reelected-so-i-won’t-tell-you-the-truth-and-thus-dance-around-the-issue-at-hand conceit.

    One person’s ‘conflict’ is another person’s ability to confront reality in a professional manner.

    Btw, did jason330 bring his non Ivory soap approved mouth to the roundtable? lol!

  10. Delaware Dem says:

    Governor Markell said he opposes demonizing those he is negotiating with, and he pointed out Scott Walker in Wisconsin as an example of that, and I in response mentioned Chris Christie. Markell agreed. There is no question, at all, that Christie and Walker demonize the hard working employees and teachers. No question at all.

  11. Delaware Dem says:

    Anon: “did you all sing his praises?”

    No, we asked some very pointed questions, especially about budget priorities, taxes and marriage equality. It wasn’t a Bill O’Reilly rudefest, though.

  12. Geezer says:

    “(Single payer)…the one issue that is a cure for this state for the health and well being of its citizens and if passed would have corporations packing up to come here!”

    You’ve never met a pie-in-the-sky idea you don’t love, have you, and you’ve never supported one with anything short of over-the-moon hyperbole.

    This is now a Democratic state, but it’s not a progressive one. The chances of passing single-payer in Delaware are below slim and infinitesimally higher than none.

  13. Delaware Dem says:

    To be clear… Markell did not mention single payer. We were discussing the implementation of the health care law, and how states do have latitude in how they set up the exchanges and how they comply, and U.I. mentioned that states could even chose a single payer system. The Governor smiled very widely, as if to say what Geezer just said.

  14. Geezer says:

    “I think Christie is doing a phenomenal job, as does many in his own state, including Democrats and Independents alike.”

    Not quite. His latest poll gives him a 52% approval rating, but with a marked partisan divide, with more than eight in ten Republicans but just over a quarter of Democrats approving of the job Christie’s doing as governor. Independent voters approve by a 55 to 36 percent margin.

    With all due respect, you like the sizzle. So far, there is no steak — property taxes have remained exactly where they were to get him elected in the first place.

  15. heragain says:

    I heard Markell speak at the BAD meeting recently, which was well-attended. “Pragmatist” “Business” yes, both words I would apply.

    Not as much of a ‘politician’ as I might hope, however. The room represented a fair sample of the Old Red Guard liberals of NCC (you know who I mean, El Som) the party faithful, and a few new faces. I suspect I’d be able to prep to talk to you guys (one of the benefits of an invitation-only audience), and it sounds like he was prepared to talk to you. The stump speech he presented to BAD, however, wasn’t fine-tuned to the majority of the room, and that gives me concern. He spoke to ‘public school students” (none present) “dedicated teachers” (none present) and “public employees” (one, retired & seasonal). She called him a liar to his face, btw, providing some of the entertainment value of the process. The other excitement was provided when an elderly woman, who I’m mortally sure pays no single dime in taxes, suggested raising them would fix the budget problems, because we’d all enjoy kicking a few more bucks in. The room that was leaning forward to talk about animal rights and wind power almost rumbled, at that.

    I sure hope the Delaware Democratic Party is running a few focus groups in the newly blue areas. If they think the voters are union members and wild partisans of public schools, we’ll get our asses handed to us.

  16. jason330 says:

    I’m very pragmatic, but often have to defend the other side of this false dichotomy so I’m probably viewed as a purist. When I appear to be calling for purity, what I think I’m looking for, like Diogenes with is lamp, is a coherent Democratic Brand. Do I think that a big part of that brand should include being VISIBLY AND VOCALLY on the side of the little guy? Yes I do.

    While I realize “branding” is one of those stupid business buzzwords, but there is something to the fact that Republicans have a coherent brand and we don’t. If we did have a coherent brand (as we did briefly in 2007) we’d never lose an election because Republican ideas are totally discredited, and people only ever vote for Republicans when they can’t fathom what the Democrat is all about.

    I’ll post on all of this later, but in the meantime – great rundown.

  17. Geezer says:

    Heragain: What are the “newly blue areas” to which you refer?

  18. Mike Matthews says:

    I’ve got a lot to say to Gov. Markell on the issue of education. Wish I were still a blogger because he would have gotten some very interesting comments/questions from me today!

  19. Joanne Christian says:

    “Republicans have a coherent brand……”….Please fill me in, cause I can’t seem to read the trademark anymore.

    Quote of the day jason!!!!!

  20. heragain says:

    BAD is Brandywine Area Democrats, Geezer. The “newly blue” areas are those few pockets of D voters that are gaining a toehold in North Wilmington. They’re socially liberal, for the most part, but young working white collar voters. WORKING being the main area of concern for them, at this point. Castle switchers.

  21. Jason330 says:

    Spill it here Mike. Harness the miracle of the Internet tubes.

  22. Delaware Dem says:

    Mike needs to return to blogging. If only so he can enlighten Governor Markell.

  23. Jason330 says:

    JC. After I typed that I thought of your current situation but even given your current situation it is far easier to concisely state what Republicans believe than it is to state what Democrats believe.

  24. Joanne Christian says:

    Well, I’d like to think we’re Democrats with a budget.

  25. TommyWonk says:

    El Som was very complimentary to me when he commented, “His [Markell's] level of understanding is so strong that he even knew what Tommywonk was talking about and could hold a detailed discussion about it.”

    The subject was including environmental costs and benefits in Public Service Commission proceedings. He knew what I was talking about because he had decided to push for the PSC to consider these externalities when evaluating Delmarva Power’s ten year Integrated Resource Plan. I will be writing much more about this in the near future.

  26. jason330 says:

    “Well, I’d like to think we’re Democrats with a budget.” Ike was a little before my time.

  27. Delaware Dem says:

    And before Joanne’s time too, Jason. LOL

  28. Delaware Dem says:

    Unfortunately, Joanne, the idea that even sane moderate (i.e. non Teabagging) Republicans are “Democrats with budget” is belied by the notion that you can cut taxes ad naseum while spending trillions on false wars and other spending.

    Sooner or later fiscal discipline and fiscal conservatism has to realize raising revenue is a required ingredient to both.

  29. To be clear I was the one who brought up Walker in Wisconsin, in response to Jason’s comment about a Democratic brand. Markell ran with it though. I also brought up single-payer and got the impression that this is dead in the water. He did say that the governor’s office will start scheduling public meetings.

  30. Delaware Dem says:

    LOL. I should have recorded the convo, because I have a different recollection about how single payer was brought up. You are right about Walker now that I think about it. Markell did give the impression that single payer was a no go, during his prolonged smile.

  31. La Narcolepsia says:

    Did you ask him or did he say ANYthing about environmental issues — water quality, sustainable growth, air quality, conservation, etc. All conspicuously absent from his State of the State, his legislative agenda, and his policy statements. We elect and pay these leaders to be able to balance long-term issues such as sustainability with short-term concerns such as jobs.

  32. Obama2008 says:

    Sooner or later fiscal discipline and fiscal conservatism has to realize raising revenue is a required ingredient to both.

    Maybe we can all practice our prolonged smiles until that happens.

  33. La Narc, actually he did, quite a bit. The discussion included wind power, how sustainability is both environmentally-responsible and a jobs creator, and, to quote the Wonkster:

    “…including environmental costs and benefits in Public Service Commission proceedings. He knew what I was talking about because he had decided to push for the PSC to consider these externalities when evaluating Delmarva Power’s ten year Integrated Resource Plan.”

    My take is that he’s quite proud of his environmental record and views job creation and environmental sustainability as two peas in the same pod, which I view as essential.

  34. Auntie Dem says:

    This, right here, is why we need blogs, especially Delaware Liberal. Great job. You have the time and space that isn’t available to the MSM and you’ve got commenters asking the pointed questions. Plus, lots of insidery stuff. I’m so glad I stopped by this morning.

    I think the fact that Gov. Markell sat down with you says a lot about him and open government AND a lot about the contributors here. Thanks to all.

  35. donviti says:

    Did you guys have food? coffee? brew ha-ha? details! we need details? Was Tommy in a tie again?

    did you ask about Guantanamo?

  36. Delaware Dem says:

    Dunkin Donuts and coffee. Tom, El Som and I were in ties. Jason was naked again, which made us all very uncomfortable.

    And given that the Governor of Delaware has nothing to do with Guantanamo, we did not ask him about that.

  37. Jason330 says:

    If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

  38. Rumor has it that Tommy goes to sleep wearing his tie.

  39. TommyWonk says:

    Rumor has it wrong.

  40. donviti says:

    Did you ask him about Chris Christie at least?

    Jesus, what did he do, bring you in there to spread happy speech and tell everyone how wonderful he is?

  41. heragain says:

    lol, donviti. What numerously elected politician in a small state would have done THAT?

  42. Yes, Christie was mentioned.

  43. anonymous says:

    El Somnambulo, says, “He (Markell) cited the NRG plant in Dagsboro as an example of how cleaning up a noxious facility has led to hundreds of jobs while improving the environmental quality of life for that area of the state.”

    How so. Cleaning up what?

    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/6cb7124718/clean-coal-plant-tour

    100% release of even more carbon dioxide, over contributing to the world’s largest environmental problem, isn’t “cleaning up.” Other pollutants to be removed from the smokestacks, are to be released to the stockpiles and waters instead.

    Markell would have known, gas was the cleaner choice releasing less CO2. but instead, Markell champions big coal and calls it clean, as would a republican.

    The power delivery system must be changed not reinforced. Remember Markell chanting the democrat chant, “Change?” Markell may boast a cheaper per kilowatt-hour in the short term, that will be more costly to society in the long term. Typical regressive republican, corporate, polluted thinking.

    http://www.sierraclub.org/coal/mtr/downloads/brochure.pdf

    http://citizensagainstcoalash.yolasite.com/coal-ash-and-your-health.php

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1870599,00.html

  44. anonymous says:

    Question

    Citizens considered the Minner/Carney administration a failure, both Carney and Markell were part in same.

    When Markell ran for governor on the democratic ticket, five thousand voters (mostly republicans,) changed their party registration to vote for Markell instead of Lee. (It was the most expensive gubernatorial primary to date, in state history.) Republicans also came out to vote for Markell, Nov. 2. Republicans voting for a ‘democrat,’ interesting.

    Democrats, in general, (but maybe not in Delaware lately) are known to back environmental protection, clean energy, better education, jobs and improved health and living conditions, etc. for all the people. But is this what’s happening?

    Markell, et al, favor a republican fiscal agenda in many cases. Witness the dioxin pile at Cherry Island permitted by Markell that saved duPont Co. hundreds of millions plus; a newer, bigger coal plant for NRG, a Markell accomplishment?; the growing coal ash riverfront stockpiles; Delaware Electric Coop looking into more coal energy; the continuing lack of solar and a still non existent wind industry to date; lack of jobs, business start ups; creating brain drains to other states; a failing educational system; and reduced relevant workforce; the corporate outsourcing; the continuing dangerous DelDot roads, highways and bridge failure lists, grants and tax breaks for major corporations who stockpile haz wastes because they can, and who ship jobs out of state when they can; the lack of concern for micro and small business start ups, (where are the 300 french fry jobs?;) worsening conditions for the poor, growing crime areas, as double dipping, crony deals, appointments continue to overflow in the Markell administration.

    Considering lack of Delaware’s environmental advancements, the deteriorating drinking water; the nearly 100% contaminated rivers, streams,lakes; EPA listed ‘hazardous to human health’ bays and wetland waters or the continuing State of DEnial regarding climate change, (who’s your state climatologist;) the flooding; and the industrial,chemically infiltrated shorelines; the continuing sand “renourishment” solution/scam?, the continuation of the Delaware River dredging, the continuing over development of coastal and waterfront areas, the over crowded and dangerously overburdened roadways due to new housing built where parallel roadways should be to meet the over development that’s still happening without infrastructure; the DelDot lease agreement; payments to wealthy landowners for no reason; the rising park fees reducing family recreational opportunities during a recession; the lack of historical preservation; the too few and too costly museums, the rising ‘residential’ fossil fuel energy rates; the banking systems that failed Delaware residents; the(promised but)failed weatherization programs- (remember their opposition, as they fought wind energy?;) the ‘troubled’ areas throughout the state; the lack of foreclosure solutions; the lack of property tax collection that should be feeding the educational system, the lack of regulatory oversight that should protect citizens; the growing “gambling state” that drains everything; the falling home values; increasing educational costs; lack of sensible mass transportation; the unnecessary pollution; the 6 figure state plum political appointments, the policies that support the above, etc.

    One hears the rich are getting richer, while the poor and middle class are struggling to stay healthy and afloat.

    The question is, are Markell, et al really democrats?

  45. Geezer says:

    A few points in response: The treasurer is elected separately, so is not part of a governor’s administration.

    Delaware Democrats for decades have prioritized jobs over the environment. I have never heard Joe Biden say a single word about the subject. The strongest voice for the environment in Delaware history was Russ Peterson, Republican.

    Are they really Democrats? No. But by the standards you have listed, I would estimate fewer than 10% of elected officials in the country would qualify.

  46. Newshound says:

    Speaking of Christie, Ginger Gibson will be Tweeting live at Christie’s speech today at 1:00 p.m. in DC at the American Enterprise Institute.

    Many Governors in the US want to know about Christie’s governance, as do a lot of American citizens in general.

    Btw, to Geezer, I’ll link to the polls later regarding how even public sector unions, Democrats and other ‘rare’ constituents give the NJ Gov high marks on his fiscal strategy. I was very surprised by the numbers.

    Off to get my taxes done now…

  47. anon says:

    Single payer maybe dead in the water in the eyes of Markell, but that certainly is not the case with legislators looking for a way out of this morass. Geezer, we all know you have a negative view about single payer and have for years now. The proof is in the Solutions for Progress study that was done here in Delaware. You wouldnt have a copy of that would you? No you dont, and neither do most of these blogging here. Why don’t you? Because the numbers supported the case for saving the State money. In fact it covers every thing and still saved the State $4Million a day. As Dr. Floyd McDowell says, when the public workers start having to pay in, when they get more pay cuts and layoffs they will be running to their legislators and asking the question, “why not do the numbers and lets see where they come out”. Dr. McDowell has the numbers from Solutions, there will be a time and a place to prove this legislation is so vital to the prosperity and economic standing in this state, legislators with a concience will be hardpressed not to sign on. We looked at the campaign finance forms of most republicans. Every single one of them had taken money from the insurance companies and big pharma. They also got money from the NOT public (Delaware Public Policy Insitute)! They were paid to keep it out of any committee and many dems were paid off too. So, we wait, our time will come. When you are paying out the ass for your health care premiums, or if the Supreme Court overrules the Affordable Health Care Act, we will see how fast legislators will be looking to find a way out. Fact is they should be investigating this topic right now since it will take 2 years to put in place. Thats why the Gov. of VT and NH have already requested waivers! But not Delaware lets fall competely through the black hole of health care before we even hold a hearing.

  48. Linda says:

    Not killing a bill in the GA, not vetoing a bill, and signing it into law is substantively different from using considerable resources to get something done. Claiming FOIA, eminent domain, and civil liberties as achievements is disingenuous. I like Jack, but cant we please stop fooling ourselves that he’s a progressive? He’s not.

  49. anon says:

    Be sure to watch the Ed Show tonight. What is happening in Wisconsin will soon be in every state, especially those governed by Republican Governors. I keep asking why no media except the Ed Show and Democracy Now are even discussing whats happening out there. Yesterday 10-20,000 in the street and more today and tomorrow. Their having their own little Egypt moment. Union busting is the name of the game for repukes.

  50. Linda says:

    In fact, I can’t think of anything that would qualify as a “social agenda” that Jack Markell HAS put considerable effort into getting done.

  51. John Kowalko says:

    Let me respectfully point out that there are many similarities, (with Wisconsin),in budget proposals being discussed here in Delaware. Just sayin’.
    John Kowalko

  52. John Kowalko says:

    Newshound,
    Governor Christie is and has always been a neanderthal. His idea of governance is serfs vs. the nobility (rich and corporate). He only enjoys a spike in the popularity polls because of his willingness to demonize the “other guy” and fill those naive little minds of the masses with the thought that they would be less downtrodden if they were permitted to stand on the starving carcasses of someone else. He is an empty vessel of unattainable promises made with unsustainable commitments to desperate people who think that they will survive if allowed to snatch the remnants from somebody else s plate. He’s a charlatan who will eventually be exposed,(unfortunately),after he has done significant damage to many.
    John Kowalko

  53. Obama2008 says:

    Unfortunately recent history is full of Republican governors whose states did well during the Clinton boom so everyone thought they were geniuses. If a serious national economic recovery develops soon, New Jersey will probably be among the first to benefit due to its mix of manufacturing, high-tech, and finance. Christie may well shoplift some political credit from an Obama recovery.

  54. WWB says:

    In regard to taxes, Markell defends his record. But no matter what else he has done in the tax arena, this fact remains: he raised taxes on the top state bracket, $60K and up, which impacts many middle class families as well as the well to do. If you look at every other state in the region, save Pennsylvania, where the state income tax is a flat tax, and Virginia, which is the northern edge of the anti-tax, anti-government services south, they all have tax brackets that hit upper incomes harder. Maryland has a top bracket on incomes over $1 million. Instead of constantly coming to state employees, as he is doing again with this budget, what’s wrong with asking the rich to pay more?? Gary Simpson is my state senator, and when I discussed this issue with him two years ago, he indicated to me that he was not necessarily opposed to creating new brackets for higher incomes, providing that rates go back down when things improve. A Republican with a more enlightened approach to progressive taxation that a Democrat!

  55. Jason330 says:

    The problem is, Delaware has some feckless rich people. It seems that they all threatened to bolt if Delaware’s flat tax is made less flat.

  56. WWB says:

    They always threaten that. I say call their bluff.

  57. John Kowalko says:

    The total Delaware tax burden is one of the most favorable in the nation. It’s a disingenuous argument to take those threats ( by unnamed/unknown) persons as a serious challenge. Call their bluff if you can identify those bluffers.
    John Kowalko

  58. jason330 says:

    If Delaware can’t be on the side of the beleaguered millionaires, how can we claim to be on the side of he beleaguered billionaires?

  59. Newshound says:

    John K –

    Thanks for your supercilious and banal diatribe regarding Christie. I’ll take your comments and counseling under advisement.

    I don’t suppose Christie, while attending UD, stole your girlfriend or something, and now, many years later, you live to exact some sort of cathartic punishment on him?

  60. anonymous says:

    Did Markell tell the people the real costs caused by the policies of polluting fossil fuel (coal) energy, red alert toxic air, 100%contaminated rivers, deady seafood and hazardous waste soils?

    Toxic greed and governmental oversight are at work daily as citizens are held hostage to sickening, deadly environmental abuses. Violators cannot hide behind the historical upriver, upwind excuses as the public is presently exposed to health, life burdens created in Delaware. In addition, hazardous stockpiles are left for future generations, in favor of ‘profits for polluters, now.’ Delawareans’ environmental and health conditions are the result of Delaware’s government, and that has a special rich vs poor, twist.

    State and federal spending cannot be justified in wealthy sections of the state, when state officials won’t even acknowledge, that natural resources and environmental protection doesn’t exist for it’s low income residence.

    Present policy promotes horrendous toxic environmental conditions for poor communities, beneath their parks, commercial properties, house developments, children’s play areas, along waterways in poor and environmentally disastrous areas. The contaminated northern Delaware coast offers nowhere to even view the Delaware River for fifteen miles, unless from a health hazardous, sludge waste, dump site state officials call a park, that should instead be avoided until removed to a hazardous waste compound and replace with actual soil. A excellent example of billions of dollars made, the hazardous waste therefrom, called a park for the poor. Would they spread the hazardous waste contains therefrom, along Rehoboth beach?

    How about the many hazardous waste cells, plus the 16 acre tarped over dioxin pile (thanks to Markell’s approval) at Cherry Island. Saved the DuPont Co. $400 million in removal and treatment costs – what did the area get – a riverfront hazardous waste dump site. Who kept the $400,000,000? They could have at least moved their haz waste to Greenville. No, clean, high chateau country is for the rich, tarped over contaminated hazardous waste flood zone piles are for the poor areas. What about the over abundance of carbon dioxide from coal burners, the rising sea levels – Not to worry, it’s a problem for the next generation, right Markell?

    Along southern demographic wealthy Delaware coast, federal, state money pumps sand to build seashores for a twenty or so mile stretch of Delaware coast (including privately fronted properties) to build and maintain a shoreline and a most extensively and expensively, a high, temporary, sand fortification for prosperous folks, year after year, costing ten of millions, with no plans of giving up on the climate change process, as Jack Markell, dirty corporate industrial users/backers and fossil fuel interests, still claim cheap coal energy for Delaware’s industries is clean business. Ask you state climatologist about climate change.

    Building artificial seashores for multi million dollar properties at the southern end of Delaware, while destroying natural resources and denying environmental protection, while adding to the world’s carbon dioxide problem, imposes the worst possible environmental discrimination: protection, wealth, for the rich; for the poor – the contaminated by-products of their billions, more losses.

    It is a person’s choice to call oneself a democrat when one is a republican, however misleading, it’s only a word. The truth is realized through political action/inaction when there are separate, unequal, governmental treatments for Delawareans (rich, poor) regarding natural resources and environmental protection. Health and life threatening environmental conditions for some; clean, moneymaking resort friendly opportunities, business protection, private home sandy front yards for others. Can one miss the demographic makeup when one population is offered cancer causing waste stockpiles as a park, as government officials worry the billionaires will leave the state, if they can’t have their way with Delaware’s poor.

    Here’s an idea for a Delaware National Park – the stretch of Delaware coast along the beautiful Delaware River, from Pa. line to Pigeon Point, Twin Spans. Tens of thousands will come lay on the shore, swim and fish. Why not? Because the shore, water, seafood and air are all hazardous to all life.

    PS That’s just the short list; but do tell why Markell, the environmental governor, thinks more Delaware coal energy equaling more carbon dioxide over production, is environmentally sound. Or did he say it’s fiscally sound, for Delaware’s toxic abusers.

  61. Jason330 says:

    To be sure, there is a bumper crop of horrible Republican Governors right now. New jersey, Wisconsin, Florida all vying to drive off a economic cliff the fastest. While it is true that they all make Jack Markell look good by comparison, the important thing is to keep Delaware standards of decency and common sense as the measures – not adopt poor New Jersey as a guide.

  62. Geezer says:

    “Geezer, we all know you have a negative view about single payer and have for years now.”

    Quite the contrary. It’s the only change that will actually save us money. But Dr. McDowell’s plan for Delaware to go it alone is and always will be dead on arrival.

    And if all knew who you were, they would know that you have been playing this game for years — singing the praises of pie-in-the-sky “solutions” and then belittling those who either disagree with you or point out the fact that cheerleading doesn’t get the job done. I’ll file all your predictions on this with the file cabinet full of your other predictions that have never panned out.

  63. Obama2008 says:

    I wish some of us “liberals” had the same attitude about single-payer that they have about gay marriage.

    Both are politically difficult to achieve. But plenty of us keep up the crusade for gay marriage, but when it comes to single payer they’re all like “Yes… but it’s not practical to achieve. Pragmatism, you know.”

    One day hopefully that prolonged smile will be replaced with a thoughtful furrow.

  64. Markell called the blogger’s meeting to discuss his strategy going forward and to flesh out achievemnts already earned. There was only just enough time for each of us to ask a question with a follow up.

    One pillar of Jack’s strategy to attract business was the quality of life here in Delaware. He mentioned that an employer will like that their employees can get somewhere in 15 rather than 45 minutes.

    I smelled a disconnect. The congestion in NCC is absolutely on the rise. So I took the opportunity to point out that I had began my morning blogging an action alert to email Cleon Cauley at DelDOT. There is a call to the public to ask DelDOT to not grant a traffic impact study waiver for a new box store rezoning request for the Rtes 7&40 intersection.

    NCC government has made changes to streamline development planning at a great cost to the public’s quality of life. I broadened the topic to talk about the state debt as it related to growth and that DelDOT is over-extended now because it over-reached by promising everything to every comer from one end of the state to the other. While much of this happened under the prior administration, Jack has told people that “he would not stand in the way of any development”. The DelDOT Secretary has told people (including legislature members at public meetings) that she “would not interfere with the county land use departments”. But DelDOT has to curtail development that will over burden our roads. We have adequate facility and concurrency law in NCC and Kent that says that the tax payer should not have to supply the infrastructure for development.

    Markell basically responded by touting his report on the DelDOT realty scandal and the transparency of the riverfront property deal and said that he was proud of the level of public participation and transparency in the agency.

    BTW, I am starting to wonder if Auntie DEM is Selander :-)

  65. Obama2008 says:

    There is a strong case that one of the business attractors would be good public schools, especially now that CSW is full up.

    I do note that everybody’s agenda is full of education topics, so it’s not like there is no activity. But so far I don’t see anything that will make a substantial difference in the worst schools. Or even the once-excellent but now middling-to-bad suburban schools.

    The worst educational outcome would be to create a new rank of charter schools along the CSW model – “magnet schools for the advantaged” – to attract the upper middle class elite to jobs in Delaware.

  66. WDEL just posted a very confusing news item about CSW http://www.wdel.com/story.php?id=32494

    They over enrolled against their charter agreement. They are claiming that they need the extra students to manage their bills and the quality of their programming.

    But Matlach’s report says that the Charter president is saying that families are moving away and leaving the school and taking the needed dollars with them. He is blaming the economy for all of this.

    But which is it? They are over-enrolled. If families are leaving, then how did they end up with too many students?

    They are asking for a “delay in enrolment reduction” but it is really a question of comporting with enrollment cap in the law that they have breached.

    I hate to say it but Matlach has garbled her reporting in the past and this could be the case here.

  67. anonymous says:

    Markell – progressive or regressive?

    http://www.foxnews.com/images/315789/1_62_neanderthal_family.jpg

    The average rates by customer category in 2008 according to the EIA:

    Residential 13.93 cents/kWh

    Commercial 11.21 cents/kWh

    Industrial 10.45 cents/kWh

    Have the commerical and industrial users pay the same rate as residential. It would be an intervention to help them come out of DEnial,(who’s your state climatologist?) reducing greenhouse gas production and embracing endless, free solar and wind power.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/erlandh/4177008920/

  68. Geezer says:

    “Plenty of us keep up the crusade for gay marriage, but when it comes to single payer they’re all like “Yes… but it’s not practical to achieve. Pragmatism, you know.”

    Not pragmatism — reality. Gay marriage is a simple, yes or no issue of fairness, easy to understand, and not insignificantly is supported by the young and opposed by the old. Most significantly, it costs nothing.

    Single payer, as anon pointed out, actually saves money. But it’s complicated, hard to explain to the not-very-bright, and represents a foundational change — and nothing scares people more than change. Further, there would be a significant population of economic losers under such a change who would actually fight against it from a position of self-interest.

  69. Obama2008 says:

    They are claiming that they need the extra students to manage their bills and the quality of their programming.

    Isn’t this the definition of a pyramid scheme, when you need to keep bringing in more pigeons to keep the whole thing going?

    So much for the argument that charter schools educate kids for less per student than public schools. Apparently they have been under-reporting the costs.

  70. Obama2008 says:

    Insurance companies might quibble with the notion that gay marriage costs nothing. Not that I care about insurance companies.

  71. cassandra m says:

    If an insurance company is comparing the additional costs of gay marriage (costs that they will recover, BTW) vs the cost to their existence by implementing single payer, it won’t take differential calculus to assess the better play for them.

  72. anon says:

    Geezer: In your mind single payer is difficult to understand? I thought you were an educated critical thinker. Whats difficult? Medicare for all is understood by the most senile elderly person. Come on you can do better than that.

  73. Geezer says:

    Dr. McDowell’s plan is not Medicare for all. Or weren’t you aware of that?

  74. Geezer says:

    In what sense does gay marriage impact insurance companies? You can currently take out a policy and make whomever you want the beneficiary.

  75. Obama2008 says:

    Show me a Democrat who is “pragmatic” about public health care, and I’ll show you a Democrat who has secure health care for himself.

  76. Obama2008 says:

    You can currently take out a policy and make whomever you want the beneficiary.

    Not for most employer provided health insurance, as far as I know.

  77. Geezer says:

    Show me a Democrat who has secure health care for himself and I’ll show you one who’s reluctant to endorse single-payer. And please note that my objection is not to national single-payer but the Delaware-only plan anon is endorsing. That one is a non-starter.

    Sorry, I thought you meant life insurance. Most employer-provided health insurance won’t let you add anyone who already has such benefits at his/her own workplace unless you pay a hefty extra premium, but many will allow you to add a same-sex partner, even without gay marriage. It depends on the workplace.

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