cassandra_m's Latest Posts
If you live in Wilmington and are a parent, grandparent, foster parent, guardian, primary caregiver, student or just plain concerned community member — this is a newly formed group that is going to advocate for better equity, access and educational opportunity for Wilmington kids. From the brochure:
The PACE Network joins adults, youth and educators together to imagine, create and advocate for equity, access and more effective learning in schools and community places. The Vision is to ensure all Wilmington youth safely attend quality early learning programs, read on level by 3rd grade, excel in reading, math, science, social studies, technology, arts, sports, extracurricular activities and graduate high school prepared for college/career success. The PACE Network aims to shape a unified voice to advocate for Wilmington students. Families and city residents play a critical role in our children’s education. Network membership is open to parents, grandparents, community members, guardians, foster parents, educators in early care, pre-schools, districts and charter schools enrolling Wilmington students.
During Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s speech at the New Hampshire Deocratic Party’s convention was interrupted by what looks like a fair number of people calling for more debates in the upcoming Presidential season. It *is* in New Hampshire, where Bernie Sanders is doing really well, but still, I’m delighted with the pushback against ms. Wasserman-Schultz who looks pretty lackluster from here. I don’t feel strongly about more debates — especially since the media is treating the GOP ones like the damned WWF. Take a look:
Crossroads and its principals have been much in the news recently and subject of a recent post here. Since Crossroads was not contacted in the recent post here, I offered them the chance to tell their story, themselves. That is the guest post from Alberta Crowley that follows. I’m also going to be clear that I know that Crossroads is doing incredible work with a population that is never well served — urban poor kids with mental health and addiction issues. They’ve certainly had their problems — with recent unethical behavior and with a long-running tug-of-war with the state over resources to serve these kids. I’m interested in helping these kids and the people who do — which is why I’m posting Crossroads story here.
Because Wilmington taxpayers spending $8,000 on Uber billboards. Not that $8K would go far in terms of additional policing, but this shows you the fiscal priorities of this Mayor while he and his Police Chief have decided that schilling for more funds from the State is their main job.
The city Office of Economic Development is spending $8,000 under a one-month contract for four billboards with the message “Wilmington proudly welcomes UBER” and a picture of Williams. The billboards also include a website address where residents can apply to become a driver for the service.
Today, we get a hilarious press release from the Mayor’s Office announcing that the WPD’s Operation Disrupt is now coming back. This is the Operation Disrupt put into place with great fanfare after multiple shootings in January — pulling the city’s Community Police Unit, as well as resources from other special units to flood the streets of certain sections of the city with officers. And only for eight hours in the evening and only for 5 days a week. Sundays were covered by NCCOPD and Mondays were covered on an ad hoc basis. Operation Disrupt started winding down in March and by the time that the WPSSC presented its report, Operation Disrupt was a shadow of its former self, with most of the special unit officers returned to their units and the CPU officers preparing to move on to other assignments. This is March 31. The NJ reported that Operation Disrupt was being reconfigured into a 7 officer unit that would specifically target certain areas. Then it said that Operation Disrupt was over on June 5, which may be when the original configuration ended. And then — TA DA! — Operation Disrupt is BACK and Mayor and the Chief are pulling the newly deployed CPU to do the larger effort.
Very proud of Rashmi Rangan and the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, Inc. for stepping up and asking for an official investigation into whether or not the settlement funds Delaware received have been misued. You’ll remember that the GA grabbed those funds to fill their own budget deficit. The one they created by not being able to ask for additional revenues. And you’ll also recall that California was sued over this same money grab by its legislature and was told by the courts to pay it back. Ms. Rangan sent her request directly to the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch:
Last night there was a meeting of the Wilmington City Council Public Safety Committee and of the Committee of the Whole — intended to discuss the budget amendment that would authorize two new Inspector positions and and a Chief Information Officer for the WPD. What you could tell when the conversation started was that this […]
Wilmington’s City Council Looks to Wash Its Hands of the City’s Safety Problem and Just Throw Money At It
Timed for the Friday afternoon news dump, Wilmington’s City Council has scheduled a joint Committee of the Whole and a Public Safety meeting to debate the City budget’s first budget amendment (not a month after the new budget went into effect). This budget amendment will add funds to the WPD budget to create two new Inspector positions and one civilian CIO position. The meeting is this Monday (June 29, 2015) at the City Council chambers starting at 5pm. This amendment has been revised from the original ask, now it provides approval for 3 new positions (rather than 4), does not add to the authorized strength of the Department and now spends just $285,000 of a projected surplus. A projected surplus that no one has any confidence in and AGAIN, I do not understand why we are committing to spending money that we think that we might have, rather than money that we actually do have. I’ll extend that to wonder why they are having this hearing at all right now — given that the GA has blown a hole in their budget and no one know what the world will look like on July 1, it seems clueless to spend any time talking about more spending until you know that your budget is intact.
This is reported to me by multiple sources at Leg Hall, (and the NJ!)with counties and other municipalities (and the REALTORS) furiously pushing back on this as well as the decrease in revenue sharing for the Real Estate Transfer tax. None of this is a done deal until the legislature takes its final vote, but blowing big holes in every single county and municipal entity here in Delaware doesn’t strike me as the most productive bit of business. Of course, they wouldn’t have such a big problem if they had passed a gas tax last year. Or if they had even passed the weak tea of the fee increases this week:
The 150th anniversary of Juneteenth was this past Friday, and on that day a major project was announced that would help African Americans reconnect with their Civil War era relatives. The Freedman’s Bureau:
The Freedmen’s Bureau was organized to assist freedmen in 15 states and the District of Columbia after the war. The bureau opened schools, managed hospitals and gave support to an estimated 4 million slaves. The 1.5 million images released Friday are from the actual reports filed by the 900 agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau who were located across the country.
In Which We Find Neither Accountability or Fiscal Sensibility in the Wilmington City Council — AGAIN
Tonight, the Wilmington City Council will vote on an amendment to the budget to add more management staff to the WPD. They will do that without having any hearings, with little notice to the public and without Bud Freel (the Finance Chair) in attendance. Councilman Freel is one of the few points of fiscal accountability (heck of any accountability) in the City Council and doing this without him available (guess Council President Gregory did not offer Bud first class tickets to come back to vote) and without a good public airing is good government malpractice. But then, we are talking about a group of people who aren’t much interested in good government — or, frankly, in representing their constituents. Here is what is being voted on:
Today, at a press conference that the public heard about maybe an hour and a half before it occurred, the Mayor and Chief Cummings announced ONE MORE Crime plan for Wilmington. It seems that not many people know what is in this plan (even City Councilpeople Sherry Dorsey and Hanifa Shabazz who endorsed it all without seeing it), and although there was some rumor that the plan would be available to the public shortly after the press conference, this plan is not on the City’s website where the public can take a look or was it provided to the Governor or the WPSSC as a courtesy. So we have a press conference that was designed to exclude as many Wilmingtonians as possible, continuing the contempt this Mayor has for the citizens of Wilmington. But here is the gist of what is supposed to be on deck:
I’ve probably undercounted the Gay Agenda wins. Still. Mr. Fink has resigned his position on the Indian River school board, surrendering to the vastly superior ground and air forces of the Gay Agenda. No word yet when the Gay Agenda will actually control the Board:
Shaun Fink, an Indian River School District school board member who spent much of the school year debating against the merits of teaching homosexual terms in the district’s middle and high school classrooms, has resigned.
“I’ve decided to resign because of acquiescence to the homosexual agenda within the district,” he said.
Finally, someone starts talking some sense about Delaware’s tax rates. Seriously, it makes no sense to raise the taxes of the people who did not gain much during the recovery (the plan to eliminate deductions) — taxes should be raised on the folks who did get the money:
Delaware’s personal income tax is the largest source of state revenue, generating $1.2 billion this year – enough to fund almost 32 percent of total state government operations.
Delaware’s top income tax rate of 6.6 percent is charged on incomes $60,000 and above.
Some lawmakers now say adding a tax bracket for wealthier Delawareans could help solve the state’s budget problems, while more fairly spreading the state’s income tax burden.
It is pretty normal to go to any Wilmington civic meeting and have at least part of that meeting focused on a discussion of improving educational opportunities for kids in the city. This is a good thing, because it is pretty clear that residents know that education is important for this kids; they know that the city is full of kids who need some additional help here and they know that it will be easier for the city to stabilize if it has great schools available to all of its kids. City Leadership from both the Administration and the City Council enthusiastically join in these discussions, carving out their own place in the Amen Corner here and showing themselves as on the same page with what their constituents want. It is a bad thing because none of these meetings is a school board meeting and I have never witnessed one of these discussions where any government official: 1) explained that the City of Wilmington has no authority over the schools in the city; 2) encouraged people to actually take all of this energy to a school board meeting where something could be done to address those concerns or 3) encouraged people to get out to vote in a school district referendum.
That’s a paraphrase of what Wilmington’s Public Safety Liaison, Mr. Douglas Iardella, told one of the attendees of tonite’s Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission. This, unfortunately, is the only thing that can explain the Administration’s continued and obvious delay in talking about implementing the recommendations of the Commission’s report. Tonight’s meeting was expected to feature Chief Bobby Cummings discussing the report’s recommendations that the WPD would implement and discuss the path forward. Many community members came out (again) to be a part of the discussion and several of Wilmington’s GA delegation came as well.
The Tuesday Town Hall meeting had a couple of handouts, apparently. I only got one that didn’t make much sense, but there was a packet that I missed that had some additional data not on my handout, ostensibly showing the percent decrease in Class A crimes in the city. One of folks attending this meeting was Clayton Stacey, a Cool Springs resident who was brutalized in a robbery about a month ago. Mr. Stacey got one of these other handouts and he took a good look at the stats presented. And then he checked the math:
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.