El Somnambulo's Latest Posts
Progressives have been waiting forever to have one of their own represent Delaware in Congress. The last time a liberal voice represented Delaware in the U.S. House of Representatives was in 1966, when then-Representative Harris McDowell (the state senator’s dad) lost to Bill Roth. For the first time in 50 years, we now have the chance to elect a proven progressive and exceedingly effective legislator to Congress. A person with both intellect and heart. That person is Bryan Townsend.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier. While we may not have a Christine O’Donnell in 2016, I can’t recall a year when there have been so many Stoopid Candidate Tricks. Or at least the kind of stories that make me want to scream. Two such stories surfaced this morning in the News-Journal. Scream along with me.
First, we have another example of Mayor Dennis Williams’ solid personnel judgment. Second, we have a DUI in Sussex politics again.
Just got this press release from the AG’s office:
Attorney General Will Not Appeal To U.S. Supreme Court On Death PenaltyDelaware DOJ Will Argue State Court Decision Is Not Retroactive
After carefully reviewing the Delaware Supreme Court’s opinion regarding the constitutionality of Delaware’s current death penalty statute, the Attorney General has decided not to appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court. He has concluded that even if the United States Supreme Court reversed the opinion on Federal Constitutional grounds, that the Delaware Supreme Court would ultimately invalidate Delaware’s current death penalty statute based on the Constitution of the State of Delaware. The Delaware Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that the Delaware Constitution provides rights to a jury trial that are independent of and in some instances more expansive than those provided by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Litigating and appealing these issues – a process that would likely take years before issues of both federal and state constitutional law were resolved — would likely not only bring about the same result, but would also deny the families of victims sentencing finality.
So. Lisa Blunt Rochester sends out the following e-mail: Friends, This week we celebrate the 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act being signed into law. It is a piece of legislation that guarantees all Americans—no matter their race—the right to vote. For the first time in half a century, we are facing an […]
By far the best journalism being committed in Delaware today is being done by WDEL’s Amy Cherry. She has effectively chronicled the stink of corruption permeating the proposed farmland deal between the Gordon Administration and a couple of well-connected farmers. Here are the links. Go ahead and read/listen to them. I’ll wait.
Perhaps Jack Markell’s favorite poster child for economic development has given Delaware the finger. SevOne is conducting a series of ‘brutal layoffs.’ And, of course, the Delaware Economic Development Office doesn’t know how much money the state won’t get back. Here’s the (no) money quote from the News Journal story:
“They are laying off so many people I had to wait [hours] to get my severance,” the worker said. “It’s like standing in a line for a guillotine.”
It’s not clear where Delaware will stand in this line. Here’s what we know….
I agree. If you’re a white working class voter and you’re watching this convention, you don’t even see yourself there. Much like that virtually no minorities were seen at the Republican National Convention. This had better change or else.
“Sources told WDEL that Roberts took his own life at his home on his family farm, the Roberts Farm, near Odessa, which was preserved by private non-profits in 2015.
According to the NY Times, Hillary Clinton is expected to name US Senator from Virginia Tim Kaine as her Vice Presidential nominee. Of all the candidates under consideration, with the possible exception of the General, she appears to have chosen the nominee with the least progressive record. Pro-TPP, pro-bank deregulation, squishy on women’s rights.
The filing deadline is this Tuesday, July 12 at 12 noon. After Tuesday, parties may file candidates, but individuals cannot file on their own separate from the party. The deadline for withdrawing one’s candidacy and getting one’s filing fee returned is this Friday, July 15 at 4:30 pm. Friday is also the deadline for candidates to switch from one race to another. I’ll likely be out campaigning for the candidate of my choice (Bryan Townsend) at the Tuesday deadline, so please keep us posted on any last minute developments.
I just watched FBI Director James Comey provide excruciating detail over how the FBI conducted the FBI investigation into SOS Clinton’s e-mails, the findings of the investigation, and what the FBI concluded. The Bottom Line: While the Secretary of State was ‘extremely careless’ in her use of e-mail, and while some of the e-mails that […]
An extraordinarily diverse and rich mixture of compelling music this month. Something for (almost) everybody. Yes, you have to click on the link immediately below for the first one. It’s worth it, trust me. Astral Weeks meets Haiti: http://www.vuhaus.com/videos/lakou-mizik-wa-di-yo-world-cafe-version This one will be in my year-end Top 10 for sure: I took my first […]
It looks like the General Assembly has scrounged up enough money for the Bond Bill by finding figurative money under the seat cushions. Complete, of course, with dire warnings from Chamber worry trolls:
“It tells me that they are clearly focused on short-term remedies for something that is a long-term problem,” said Robert Perkins, executive director of the Business Roundtable and a former aide to Republican Govs. Pete du Pont and Mike Castle. “This is the equivalent of looking under the cushions of your sofa to find loose change to pay your electric bill.”
The Roundtable, which represents various Delaware business owners, released a study late last year that called for legislators to find more stable sources of revenue and stop the continually growing cost of things like education, Medicaid, and employee health care costs.
“If people did not recognize last August when we released that study that there was a structural problem then, they must now,” Perkins said. “Cobbling together a state budget, which has many, many important programs that must be funded, is not a practice that is sustainable in the long-term.”
You remember that ‘study’, don’t you? Paid for by the Business Roundtable to provide pro-business talking points. Cut corporate taxes, do away with the estate tax, raise taxes on seniors. That’s the one. No mention of raising taxes for Delaware’s wealthiest. And not a peep from the General Assembly this year.
Colin Bonini had company this year. The Annual Operating Budget passed the Senate, but only by a 15-6 vote. All the nos were from R’s with only Cloutier, Lawson and Lopez voting for the budget. An amendment failed that would have removed a $290,000 to the Center for Energy & Environmental Policy. The center is run by McDowell ally Dr. John Byrne. The amendment predictably failed on a straight party vote, 9 yes, 12 no. I may have time to slog through the Epilogue Language which, as longtime legislative observers know, is often where special favors for legislators and their pet projects are buried. However, today is not that day.
Final three days for this General Assembly. Here’s what HAS to happen: Pass Budget Bill, Pass Bond Bill, Pass Grant-In-Aid Bill. (Actually, they don’t have to pass a grant-in-aid bill, but who wants to tell the local volunteer fire companies and senior centers that they didn’t pass the bill?)
The budget is a done deal. The bill has been introduced and has been laid on the table, aka DeLuca’d, in the Senate. It can be lifted any time via a motion. I expect the bill to reach the Governor’s desk before Thursday. The final DEFAC numbers are causing some issues with the Bond and Grant-In-Aid bills, but nothing that some kick-the-can-down-the-road fiscal legerdemain can’t solve.
Before we examine today’s agendas, let’s look at a last-minute bill that made me go ‘Hmmm’.
Here’s the skinny from the New York Times:
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down parts of a restrictive Texas law that could have reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state to about 10 from what was once a high of roughly 40.
One part of the law requires all clinics in the state to meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers, including regulations concerning buildings, equipment and staffing. The other requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
“We conclude,” Justice Breyer wrote, “that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the Federal Constitution.”
Well, things are certainly looking up when it comes to the Supreme Court.
Dennis Williams can’t defend himself, so he won’t defend himself. He still wants to be reelected. Anyone else see the disconnect here? This News-Journal article lays it out there for all to see. In fact, city resident Erin Lee exposes the mayor better than I could:
Wilmington resident Erin Lee: “Why won’t you show up at the debates??”
Williams: “Why should I when all I will be is the punching bag. I will not get a word in because the deck is stacked against me.”
Lee: “If you don’t have a spine and can’t stand up and defend your plans and ideas for our city against a few other people, how can you say you can stand up and be a LEADER of our city?? You aren’t a leader, you’re a little boy.”
Williams then goes on to insult her. A little boy with anger management problems and a disastrous record. The article also demonstrates how Williams takes credit for stuff that happens in the City even when he has had nothing to do with it. As to the arts community he touts, the city’s involvement has gone to hell ever since he got rid of Tina Betz, who actually knew what she was doing.
The problem, though, is, he will almost certainly win reelection unless the field of challengers shrinks considerably before the primary election. I sincerely hope that there is serious polling going on, and that the projected also-rans drop out. I mean, let’s face it, Williams has been even more disastrous than Karen Weldin Stewart. And he could well be reelected the same way that she was.
By ‘fast’, I mean before June 30.
This ‘tip’ speaks for itself and raises all sorts of questions about a bill that Schwartzkopf is rushing through the General Assembly. The subject may appear to be arcane, but looks like it’s designed to enable a lot of people who are not permanent residents of Rehoboth to vote in elections there. The bill, HB 395 (M. Smith), does not specify Rehoboth. Schwartzkopf is a sponsor. The bill in question was introduced on June 2. Already passed the House, already out of a Senate committee. Interestingly, unlike every other piece of legislation on the LIS system that I’ve seen, there is no PDF link to this bill. Coincidence? You decide. Here is the tip in its entirety….
Something rare: An important bill passes and goes to the Governor. And the sponsors threaded the needle with this one. HB 325 (Osienski), which ends the ridiculous practice of automatically granting a gun permit if a criminal background check cannot be completed in three (!) days, barely passed the Senate with a Senate Amendment, and barely passed the House for a second time. It now goes to the Governor. For some reason, the bleeping legislative information system no longer enables me to provide a direct link to the roll calls. So let me point out that, in the Senate, one R voted for the bill (Cloutier) and one D voted against the bill (Ennis). In the House, not a single R voted for the bill, and the following D’s (remember their names) voted against the bill: Andria Bennett, Lumpy Carson, Mike Mulrooney, and Trey Paradee.
Oh, and yet another important bill heads to the Governor. SS1/SB 163 (Peterson) removes the requirement that those convicted of three non-violent felonies (‘Three Strikes and You’re Out’) automatically be sentenced to life in prison. Several R’s voted yes during yesterday’s House vote, and I salute them: Hensley, Miro, Ramone, D. Short, and Yearick. Only one D voted no: Lumpy Carson.
Oh, and one notable bill was defeated or, more accurately, didn’t achieve a 2/3 supermajority vote. SB 262 (Townsend) would have created a regulatory framework for the Uber and Lyft networks, among others. Specifically, the bill would seek ‘to ensure the safety, reliability and cost-effectiveness of rides provided by Transportation Network Company Drivers within the State of Delaware and to preserve and enhance access to these important transportation options for residents and visitors to the State.’ The bill had 13 yes (the 12 D’s plus Cloutier) and 8 no. One vote short of a 2/3 majority. Guess which side is getting those campaign contributions.
Welcome to a Very Special Primal Scream Edition of the Pre-Game Show. Time to cue my best Howard Beale/Howard Dean…..
aren Peterson Retires. Who Will Succeed Her?
You can’t replace her. She really has been Delaware’s Best Legislator for perhaps as long as she’s been a legislator. And let’s talk about the term ‘legislator’. To me, she was such an effective legislator because she took on the big issues, and was successful in enacting some of the most progressive legislation in recent memory. No one has meant more to equal rights for all Delawareans than Karen. She is truly an historic figure, and deserves to be recognized as such. Her combination of idealism and legislative smarts simply can’t be replaced.
Someone, however, will succeed her. If I had to bet, I’d bet on Tim Sheldon. Sheldon, you may recall was Tom Sharp’s hand-picked choice to replace Sharp, who basically was living at the beach when he left office. You may recall that Peterson had her car tires slashed during that campaign. It’s not fair to place the blame on Sheldon. But it’s pretty clear that the construction trade goons who backed him had no problem employing such intimidating tactics. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had pretty much a clear field going into the general election. The only other name that I’ve heard who might actually run is Val McCartan, who is Patti Blevins’ Chief Staffer. I like Val, but I don’t see her as a glad-handler who is going to go door-to-door in a tough campaign. She is a highly professional and skilled Senate staffer, but I don’t think she has the candidate gene. I mean that as a compliment.
Today’s House Agenda leads off with a bill that increases penalties for talking or texting on a hand-held device while driving. I support the bill, although I question the assertion that ‘novice drivers’ are most likely to ignore the law. Based on my observations, virtually everybody ignores the law. The bill also adds points for a second offense and thereafter. Good.
The agenda is highlighted by two anti-discrimination bills. HB 316 (Heffernan) ‘makes it clear that an employer is expressly prohibited from taking adverse employment action against an individual based on his or her reproductive health care decisions. HB 317 (Rep. K. Williams) ‘prohibits discrimination in employment based upon an individual’s caregiving responsibilities’.
HB 400 (Baumbach) incrementally, and I mean incrementally, expands the use of marijuana oils for minors. This time, by ‘by classifying pain, anxiety, or depression, if related to a terminal illness, as a qualifying condition in the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act for patients under the age 18, who will still be restricted to using CBD and oil products.’ The only thing objectionable about this bill is that it accepts the notion that any minor who could incidentally ‘get high’ via governmental imprimatur must be prevented at all costs.