cassandra_m's Latest Posts
The Wilmington City Council passed the budget for the next fiscal year — 7-6. Other than the 600K that Bud Freel made sure got added to deal with cameras and to be sure that the WPD could run an Academy if needed, this City Council passed a budget utterly free of any opportunity for asking for better accountability from the Williams Administration and utterly free from dealing with the big issues the city has: improved safety, accountability for programs and departments and a better reckoning of a projected surplus — $2M surplus even though this fiscal year will end with a $500K deficit.
Yesterday, Mayor Williams had his last Town Hall. I’ll say more about that in another post. But he said to WDEL yesterday:
Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams is making it clear he’s not a huge fan of the Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission.
“What’s the big deal about this crime commission?” Williams posed on WDEL’s Delaware’s Morning News.
“Everybody that put a few dollars up, talked about this crime commission being so great,” Williams said. “Where were these people when I asked them to support Wilmington many years ago?”
But when the Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission was authorized by the Governor, this is what he had to say:
“Since taking office in 2013, I have recognized the value and necessity of State assistance in fighting violent crime,” Williams said in a written statement. “I have consistently lobbied for Governor Markell and the State’s support in tackling the violent crime in Wilmington. I would like to thank the Governor and City Delegation for their steadfast support and commitment, as we work collectively on the issue of eradicating the crime and violence in our city.”
This one is tomorrow, Tuesday May 19th at P.S. duPont. Please come out to ask the Mayor about the status of implementing the Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission recommendations (some of these recommendations are largely in line with President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing report. Or just ask him about the political agendas that are somehow more proactive about the safety of Wilmingtonians than his own plan is. Handcuffs are optional for this event, but if you got ‘em, wear ‘em!
So you’ve heard me talk about the successes that Camden has had in bending the curve of their crime and violence issues — and today, President Obama travels to Camden to recommend the Camden Community Policing approach as a national model. This accompanies the release of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing report today:
The report endorsed Thomson’s view that “community policing cannot be a program, unit, strategy or tactic. It must be the core principle that lies at the foundation of a police department’s culture.
“The only way to significantly reduce fear, crime and disorder, and then sustain these gains is to leverage the greatest force multiplier: the people of the community,” Thomson testified.
It isn’t news that cities like Camden, NJ and Philadelphia, PA are reducing their violent crime statistics. I’ve been posting that news along with most of the posts I write here about the current situation in Wilmington. What these cities have done includes re-orienting themselves to data and intelligence-driven forces, able to address crime hot spots and get out in front of crime — rather than simply wait for a phone call to respond to. Heck, even the SEPTA has moved to a data-driven policing model and is clearly bending the curve on their own crime problem.
So what’s wrong with Wilmington?
Populism. That’s the word and that’s the word in the title of a piece that appeared in The Atlantic this week authored by Governor Jack Markell, called, Americans Need Jobs, Not Populism. In fairness, he may not have provided the title to this thing. But it is less an argument against populism than it is an argument for working class and middle class people to sit down and shut up about the very real squeeze we find ourselves in. It is an argument for his own political philosophy — privileging businesses over the people who are the consumers for these businesses — a philosophy that certainly wasn’t on display (IMO) when he first campaigned for Governor. In this, the Governor wants you to know that it is globalization that is the root of today’s economic issues. Which couldn’t be more wrong.
More Americans are comfortable voting for a gay person for President than an evangelical Christian. Think about that for just a minute. Seems like *somebody* took back the mantle of the Moral Majority, right? And if I’m Reince Priebus, I’m seriously worried. Because there’s a clear light at the end of the tunnel for the angry old white people strategy.
Seriously, stop the high school hallway belligerence and just fix Wilmington’s cameras.
Today, Mayor Dennis Williams and Councilman Mike Brown decided to have an argument via WDEL about the amount of money spent on the city’s cameras currently monitored (in theory) by Downtown Visions. The Mayor says that Councilman’s Brown’s figure on the amount of money spent on the cameras is wrong and Brown provides some detail showing that the number he gave was rounded, but not far off from right. Both of them highlight a few of the City’s key problems in dealing with its safety issues:
This petition at the site change.org is addressed to the Governor, AG Matt Denn, Mayor Dennis Williams and Chief Bobby Cummings to ask them to implement the Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission report and 9 other actions to help to address and reduce the violence in Wilmington. Please take a few minutes to read this over and sign it, if you can. Also forward this on to your friends and share via your FB pages or Twitter to help spread the word. Thanks!
Pope Francis is set to release his first Papal Encyclical and it will be on climate change. The Pope is recognizing that climate change is real, it is caused by humans and it needs to be addressed now. Conservatives are losing their minds — this Pope has immense moral credibility — and the Heartland Institute is so upset that they are trying to get a meeting with the Pope to make him an offer he can’t refuse, presumably. Seriously, the hubris of these people to think that a man with the world’s greatest minds at his fingertips could find the Heartland Institute’s propaganda compelling. This Pope is not a clueless American conservative.
And what the heck is going on in Rehoboth Beach? Dogfish Head Brewing and Eats has plans to revitalize their space and the zoning board in Rehoboth turned down their variance. Because they would invite too many people to that part of downtown Rehoboth, even though the plans call for fewer restaurant seats than they have now. And one of the Zoning Board members invited Dogfish Head to move to another town. That’s some economic development plan, right there.
According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of Americans know that innocent people can be killed via death penalty sentences, yet still support the death penalty: The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Mar. 25-29 among 1,500 adults, finds widespread doubts about how the death penalty is […]
It is fascinating to watch and of course Mark Halperin would be at the tip of the spear of this bullshit. According to him and his interlocutor here, Hillary Clinton is “terrified of the left”. Setting up this narrative of Clinton vs “The Left” is all about demonizing “The Left” and its ideas in a way that Halperin would never do for the Tea Party — who are demonstrably dangerous. Which might be why he feels that he can do this — there’s no downside to him for taking sides against “The Left”. He won’t be the only one, of course, but this is the first I’ve seen of this narrative in the wild this cycle.
Delaware State News reports today that there is a plan percolating in the GA to *add* three more casinos to the mix as a way to address the state’s declining revenues from the current three. Read that again — 3 casinos that are suffering from a declining market share will have 3 more casinos in state to steal their market share PLUS lose their share of out-of-state players.
From the Press Release:
Dover, DE – Recognizing the obvious void felt following the departure of former Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn who was recently sworn in as Attorney General, and his anxiety about a possible Jeff Bullock term as Governor, Governor Markell announced today he would be holding open auditions to fill the Lt. Governor vacancy. Candidates must be Delaware natives, have a 5th grade reading level or a degree from Yale Law School and children more photogenic than the officeholder.
“During his tenure as Lt. Governor, Matt spent a majority of his time at elementary schools or attending events I was ‘too busy’ to attend,” said Governor Markell. “One of his most endearing qualities was his ability to blend in with the crowd – whether it was a bunch of 3rd graders or a knitting club in Long Neck. Any respectable candidate should embody that same quality.”
Tomorrow (March 16, 2015), the first Delaware Moral Monday will take the form of a Prayer-In on East Steps of Legislative Hall in Dover. From the press release:
The issues facing our state are both deeply spiritual and social. In response to the hyper-criminalization of people of color and the evident disparities present within the state’s criminal justice system, participants will gather to pray that the God of justice would intervene on behalf of the marginalized during this legislative session. Both specific and general criminal justice concerns will be at the forefront. The repeal of the death penalty, one such matter that will be introduced in the Senate on March 18, will be advocated.
Yesterday, the NJ published a lengthy article where Wilmington’s business community officially went on the record to voice their disapproval of the Williams’ Administration’s approach to managing crime in the city. While news and complaints about the crime problem are not new, the fact that portions of Wilmington’s business community is willing to talk to journalists about their concerns is new and huge, I think. Previously, they could just reach out to the 9th floor and they usually had not just a sympathetic ear, but also an administration that at least tried to address their concerns. Not, the problem (while admittedly not that much bigger than before) is exacerbated by both the glib promises made by the Mayor and his people as well as an administration that is utterly MIA on this issue. It isn’t just that no one from the Administration will speak or even be seen to be proactive on safety issues (even the perception of safety issues), Wilmington’s business community has met with the Administration multiple times asking how they can help AND communicating that they can be counted on to support solutions. This effort has been met with silence.
We already know that a provision to roll back the Dodd-Frank provision that forbid banks from booking their deriviatives in the the parts of their business that is insured by taxpayers. They would have to keep them in the portions of their business where losses were borne entirely by the bank and their shareholders. Elizabeth Warren led what Bloomberg called The Great Swaps Rebellion during the Cromnibus negotiations. And John Carney was peeved:
As you’ve likely heard, 3 time governor of NY Mario Cuomo died yesterday. Cuomo was one of the best voices for progressive politics in my lifetime, and a frustrating leader who couldn’t seem to commit to leading the charge to implement those politics — turning down opportunities to run for President and to be on the Supreme Court. Still, he was a brilliant speaker, providing some of the best defenses and descriptions of liberal politics ever:
That’s the title of Newsweek’s article looking at the crime problem in Wilmington. I thought that this article mostly tried to leverage off of articles like this one, that rank the safety of small cities using FBI crime stats and articles from the News Journal also reporting on Wilmington’s crime issues. The author mentions a “tale of two cities” quality to the city (that’s true) but doesn’t really do this theme justice, which might have told us more about the problem. And if you google “Murdertown”, you see places like Flint, MI, Chicago, IL, various towns in Texas and Youngstown, OH, tagged with it, so the title to this article is even a little worn. Still:
This year, there have been 27 homicides in Wilmington, tying its record 27 murders in 2010, and 135 people have been shot. Twenty-two of them died. With a population of just over 71,000, Wilmington had a violent-crime rate of 1,625 per 100,000 people last year, according to the FBI’s 2013 Uniform Crime Report (that crime rate measures murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault). The national average was 368 per 100,000 people. Wilmington ranks third for violence among 450 cities of comparable size, behind the Michigan towns of Saginaw and Flint, according to a Wilmington News Journal report.
The stats are bad, but if the number of murders could be cut by one third or so, Wilmington would fall right off of those top 10 lists. The city would be a little safer for the folks who live in the neighborhoods where the guns seem drawn all of the time, but would the problem be resolved? Probably not, because:
When you ask people in Wilmington about the root causes of the city’s crime epidemic, their answers read like the devil’s Christmas list: poverty, racism, lack of economic opportunities, drug and alcohol abuse, gun violence, high dropout rates, teenage pregnancy, stressed families and more.
Lots of interesting ink has been spilled about the National election and it seems to be converging on the idea that Democratic Congressional candidates simply could not provide voters with a real reason to get out and vote for them. They couldn’t beat a GOP candidate in Staten Island who is under indictment, threatened to throw a reporter off of a balcony in the Capitol building and was otherwise just clueless. I’m going to provide some links to the better pieces I’ve read so far, but we’ll start with Bill Maher’s assessment (from his Facebook page):
I feel bad for the people Democrats are supposed to represent, not the Democratic candidates. They remind me of the Iraqi Army – running when they should fight.
Sexual assault is serious and traumatic for its survivors — and there is no comparison to paying taxes. Insisting on that comparison is certainly callous and certainly stupid. Two things that may, in fact, be habit with Rep. Smyk. He needs to apologize (and stop chasing down people he thinks are responsible for circulating this) and he needs to apologize now. Please sign this petition that calls upon Smyk to apologize for his stupid and offensive use of the word “rape” in trying to defend corporate interests.
Then, make sure you go vote for Marie Mayor, who will certainly respect and represent her constituents better than this.
We all know that the NJ is working on the lastest Gannett revenue extraction scheme — the Newsroom of the Future — that mainly looks like a way to implement a staff reduction while re-orienting their attention to their website, rather than the paper. This article from the Nashville Scene provides some details of what is going on at The Tenneseean (another Gannett property going through the same thing):
So he says in this recording of a debate answer defending his vote for bailing out casinos. Smyk is — surprise — an ex-cop and the district he represents is the area where Bradley committed his crimes against children. And this career cop wants you to believe that the taxes paid by casinos are the equivalent of rape. A comment that completely diminishes the violence of real rape and completely devalues the real trauma endured by its victims. To be sure, plenty of Ds voted for this bailout too — but none of them would tell you they were somehow in the rape prevention business. His opponent, Marie Mayor, has a great response — that the revenues from casinos ought to be in use the fix Delaware infrastructure, which is exactly right. So the choice is between the R who wants to reduce the casino taxes vs the D who wants to help get our roads and bridges fixed. There’s no point in re-electing Smyk if the only people he plans to represent are a handful of casino owners.
Come inside for the video….