Rehoboth Tables LLC Voting Plan

Filed in National by on December 4, 2017

The one thing you can count on with almost all Delaware politicians: They lack the spine for a fight.

Perhaps factory-fresh Rehoboth Beach Mayor Paul Kuhns and Commissioner Park City Kathy McGuinness thought this was the right time of year to sneak through their proposal to open city voting rolls to corporate entities. They learned otherwise Saturday, when 80 people showed up for a public meeting on the proposal, none to support it.

So what did the backers of the plan do? They backed down, of course, apparently without even trying to defend it. The promised to table the LLC portion of the proposed charter changes “for further study.” McGuinness, a profile in courage, didn’t even give the reporter a usable quote. You’ll notice, however, that the idea wasn’t killed outright. It’s hard to squish a jellyfish.

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  1. Reasonable Person says:

    McGinnis more Trumpian than Trump. She (and Kuhns) have been the driving forces behind this mid-winter effort to transfer power to LLCs (and likely corporations next). At City Council meetings she even thought that renters with short terms leases should be able to vote in City elections, and when she was asked if 30-day summer renters should be allowed to vote, her answer was along the lines of “What’s wrong with that?” (it’s on audio tape last month, you can hear it). But not only did she back down on Saturday’s town hall, in her later Facebook post she actually took credit for what’s happened: “Loved it. Participation. Transparency. Inclusiveness. Voices heard. It’s a new day !”

    This woman is dangerous. Is this the new face of the Delaware Democrats — the person who tried to be Lt Governor and is now likely to run for State Treasurer?

    Unfortunately she and Kuhns just got elected in August, so RB is stuck with them for 3 years — unless all of you voters outside of RB will elect her as State Treasurer and take her off our hands. Maybe you can find a spot for Kuhns also.

  2. john kowalko says:

    Correction: running for “Auditor”. No this is not the new face of the Delaware Democrats. In fact it is more like the old face/guard that should not be allowed to lay claim to Democratic Party idealism without any regard for Democratic Party idealism, in fact disregarding basic principles of one “person” one vote and individual rights superseding corporate interests.
    Re[Representative John Kowalko

  3. Matt Smith says:

    Didn’t McGuiness support Lopez when he ran for State Senate? I thought she was a Republican. Isn’t Schwartzkopf pushing her for a statewide office? I had trouble following Game of Thrones when it first came out. Maybe I need a scorecard to see who’s who in Delaware now.

  4. anon says:

    She is a good frined of Ken Simpler so I doubt she will run for treasurer. And yes, she supported Lopez. Check out his campaign finance report in 2014.

  5. Reasonable Person says:

    If she’s not running for Treasurer, is it for Auditer as John Kowalko says above? She’s a realtor with ties to the development community (and LLCs), so I guess she would know something about audits?

  6. It’s Auditor. Pete Schwartzkopf has a (presumably figurative) hard-on for her. We’re gonna delve into her background some more here at DL soon. She has some key people running interference for her, including the head of the Department of Elections. The ruling that she was eligible to run for Lt. Gov. was absurd on its face.

  7. Alby says:

    But El Som, she only lived in Utah because her kids are competitive skiers! Like everybody can afford to buy a second home in Utah because their kids like to play at a rich kids’ sport! That’s who we want representing us Democrats!

  8. Reasonable Person says:

    Thanks for the update. It doesn’t bother me if she is wealthy or had her kinds skiing in Utah …. what bothers is her allegiance to realtors, developers, LLCs, etc. You should really have been at the RB meetings where she was trying to justify her proposal — or listen to the tapes. It’s that type of stuff that is so bad.

  9. Alby says:

    If she wasn’t wealthy and didn’t have her kids skiing in Utah, her residency wouldn’t be an issue and, I suspect, she wouldn’t be pushing this ordinance.

    People in politics do stuff for their friends. If you’re a wealthy person who jets around the country because your kids have to be catered to, you rub elbows with other people of the same sort — often, people who are sheltering their wealth behind an LLC. That’s why she supports all the things you find objectionable. Poor people don’t support that stuff, unless someone is paying them to.

    So yeah, sorry, but the wealth is an issue. We can be a working person’s party or a rich person’s party, but not both.

  10. Rehoboam says:

    The issues in Rehoboth are not defined strictly by wealth vs. working class, everyone is wealthy and fairly well-educated, the issue is and has been property rights vs. community rights. And lately that also divides across business interests in the form of properties built solely for rental in residential neighborhoods, disrupting the “charm factor” and the livability of those neighborhoods vs. preserving what the city offers that attracts people. This situation is widespread across the US, particularly in coastal communities. The LLC issue is really a lob to the rental interests who want to make bigger inroads in town and by giving them the right to vote, to potentially be the deciders in close municipal elections. The community rights side gets pegged as a bunch of whiners, but they have a stake in their properties, they are not trying to run the rentals out of town, RB has had a long history of people renting their houses for the summer and it will continue. But it has never been much of a money making proposition like it has been in more recent years with cheaper money available to build higher occupancy rental properties, termed mini-hotels. They can make one’s life miserable if you live next door to one. The zoning regs were reined in in 2015 and I think the situation has moderated somewhat, but there are those who would like more development and easing of the restrictions. We have found that stricter zoning raises property values, not hindering it. It all requires balance, not all one side or the other. Anyway, Kathy McGuiness (note spelling) has played both sides of the fence throughout her career which is why we find her so frustrating. She always wants to be on the winning side and keeps her finger in the air to sense changing wind directions. Both she and Kuhns are democrats, but they don’t behave that way.

  11. Alby says:

    So noted. I was talking more about foisting her on the rest of the state. As you note, there’s nothing Democratic Party about her, but Pete couldn’t push her ahead if she remained a Republican.

  12. Rufus Y. Kneedog says:

    More so than any point in the last 30 years, Wagner is vulnerable. He’s accumulated a fair amount of baggage in the past 3 years. He may not even run again, assuming the Rs can find a suitable replacement. There’s no great sorrow in that, but the last thing that office needs is a Delaware Way politician. At this point, you’d have to say she’s the favorite.

  13. mouse says:

    I biked through Rehoboth last night, no one was home. Mostly empty rentals. And remember, the cheapest home in Rehoboth is a 900 sq ft 40 year old manufactured home a mile out on a 50 by a 100 lot and it sells for 600K on the low end.

  14. Alby says:

    “Wagner is vulnerable”

    Really? Consider the gross negligence necessary for an incumbent in statewide office to lose an election. Karen Weldin Stewart was grossly unqualified for her job and everyone kept saying so, but she held on for two terms. Chip Flowers was an unqualified megalomaniac whose travel scandal lowlighted his only term — but he was black, so I’m sure it took less for Delawareans to turn on him than they would a white candidate.

    Now tell me what Wagner has done that even comes close to bringing on himself the negative attention that sank those two defeated incumbents.

    I mean, I get what you’re saying, but I don’t think he’s any more vulnerable than he’s been in the past as a Republican in a heavily Democratic state.

  15. Anono says:

    Sussex County and New Castle county are crazy, with development. It’s all about the almighty tax dollars. They don’t care what developments they approve, time to vote these Developers out of office!!!

  16. Rufus Y. Kneedog says:

    Wagner had his house foreclosed on and has his #2 person on paid administrative leave for over a year for an undisclosed reason.
    He won Sussex County and lost the rest of the state in 2014. A Dem with Sussex support who will also have the backing of the party poobahs this time around is a major problem for him IMO.

  17. Alby says:

    Yeah, those are good points. The key will be publicizing it. Flowers was a headline hound and took care of his own demise. KWS was so incompetent people kept talking about it. By comparison, I had already forgotten about the foreclosure.

    The problem for McGuiness, if that’s who you’ve got in mind, is that her “party support” is only Schwartzkopf-deep.

    BTW, Wagner also beat Mayrack by 10,000 votes in Kent County.

  18. Reasonable Person says:

    If the Ds nominate McGiness, they will have a real problem. Have you heard of the “Rehoboth Beach tapes”? There are publicly-available audios of every Rehoboth Council meeting (formal and informal), and you can mine them for some of the things that she’s said over many years. She’s careful and cagey, so you have to look and listen. But when she recently said that “what’s the problem” if 30-day summer renters vote in City elections, that’s the tip of the iceberg for some of her remarks over the years. A primary opponent should be able to find these things and unmask her as more of a Trumpist rather than a D. She’s also been against adopting ethics rules for Rehoboth elected officials (preferring to rely on the weak state law) and in favor of repealing zoning laws that limit the building by investors of McMansion mini-hotels on residential streets.

  19. Scooter says:

    I have a question… can we find out who’s giving her access to literally every bill signing with the governor? She’s a fixture at signings even if it has nothing to do with her. Sneaky Pete can’t be the only one propping her up.

  20. Lots of people are propping her up. Didja know that Jack Markell’s final gubernatorial appointment was to name her to the, wait for it, Board Of Trustees Of Delaware State University?

  21. meatball says:

    What business does she own in Rehoboth? I’d like to avoid it if I can.

  22. Dan B. says:

    It’s the Pink Crab, the Lilly Pulitzer store on Rehoboth Avenue, two doors down from City Hall. BUT, KMc is just the landlord, it’s not her business. She likely gave the owners of the business a triple net lease, meaning they are the ones paying the property tax. So, don’t punish the small business owners by not going there. That’s a big part of the problem with this whole LLC voting fiasco KMc cooked up. It rewards commercial landlords and developers whose only interest in the city is financial and it potentially hurts small businesses (in addition to the real people known as residents). Unlike residential rental owners, commercial owners do not even pay a rental tax!

  23. Alby says:

    The proposal was only for residential-property LLCs, not commercial ones, though I don’t see how they’d be able to restrict it that way if a commercial LLC owner took them to court.

    Anybody know how she made her money?

  24. Dan B. says:

    Wrong! The proposal was for ALL LLCs. There are a lot of misstatements about the proposal and it was a big part of the plan to sneak it through. City Solicitor confirmed all property owners, residential and commercial.

    Why doesn’t KMc have to report contributions for her local election this summer? Only her state office contributions are available apparently. News Journal article included info on the businesses that contributed to state campaign.