El Somnambulo's Latest Posts
In a dog-bites-man story, the despicable House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, aka ‘Pete’s Enforcer’, sought to essentially narc out someone who had the temerity to question the raises that D House leadership bestowed upon its staff. Longhurst did it by leaking an e-mail exchange and issuing a veiled threat to the constituent’s employer. This News-Journal story captures the essence of Longhurst as well as anything I’ve read.
Please read the story. You’ll see that Longhurst is first utterly disingenuous in somehow claiming that she HAD NO IDEA whether the e-mail in question reflected the official position of the University of Delaware. Her intent was clear: To get the employee in trouble, and to underline that the General Assembly, due to its infinite charity, provides funds to the University of Delaware and, gee, wouldn’t it be a shame if that relationship was threatened by this e-mail?
And, now, to the Lie of the Year. In Delaware, this is almost certainly the Lie of the Decade:
“I was just asking a question,” Longhurst said. “I’ve never bullied anybody. If that’s the perception, that’s the perception.”
“How is it intimidating?” she told The News Journal. “I just raised a question.”
Anybody paying attention can see what’s going on. The alleged D leaders in the General Assembly either aren’t paying attention, or they’re in the bag as well.
Stated simply: Gov. Markell, aided and abetted by his pro-business propagandists, is pursuing a strategy of forcing cuts on the most vulnerable with NO consideration being given to increasing revenues as a means of closing the budget gap.
…including our very own Cassandra Marshall and (might as well be our very own) Mike Matthews. What I love about this list of leaders who will be part of Bryan Townsend’s campaign is that many, if not most, are people who are vital to our state, yet have generally not been among the party insiders […]
Received this just awhile ago:
Today, I ask for your support as I announce my campaign to represent Delaware in Congress.
Delaware faces a significant challenge: rebuilding an economy that works for all Delawareans and that reverses the inequality spreading across America. That’s why our campaign will champion policies that grow and strengthen the middle class, provide every child with an opportunity to succeed, promote equal justice in the criminal justice system, and ensure retirement security for our seniors.
Four years ago, I was joined by students, community leaders, and neighbors in a grassroots campaign for the Delaware State Senate. Although some doubted our prospects, Delawareans like you showed they’d back a candidate who reaches out, listens, and will always do the right thing for Delaware, even when it’s the hard thing.
I’ve made no secret of my opinion that Mike Barbieri was one of the most effective legislators in Dover during his time there. A serious legislator with the willingness to build coalitions to pass progressive legislation that helps some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Having said that, the relationships between Barbieri, his company (Crossroads of Delaware), the state, and his recent hiring by the state raise all sorts of questions that require answers.
…will be the primary for US Congress between State Rep. Bryon Short and State Senator Bryan Townsend.
It is a battle of the present (and, one hopes, the past) of the Democratic Party vs. a more progressive future.
Make no mistake: Bryon Short is the chosen heir to the mantle of middle-of-the-road mediocrity personified by Tom Carper and John Carney. He, or more likely Ed Freel and his ilk, have chosen ex-Carper staffer Mat Marshall to run his campaign. Carper’s ‘Brain’, Ed Freel, is calling the shots from his UD bunker. Short, of course, served in Carper’s congressional office, and has made no bones about his friendship with Carper and Carney. You may also recall that Bryon Short bottled up a minimum wage increase in his House committee until the bill was essentially emasculated. Although strong on social issues, Short’s principal legislative focus has been on cutting yet more ‘red tape’ that, according to the Chamber and its allies, hobble businesses in Delaware. In fact, Short essentially had a committee created just for him with this run in mind: The (get this) House Economic Development/ Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee, aka The Business Lapdog Committee.
I’m quite impressed with the progressive positions he has taken on the issues, and I hope we can all do whatever it takes to help him win the Special Election. I’ve decided to print the entire endorsement from Progressive Democrats of Delaware, because he really spells out his positions here:
“Carn(e)y: I can’t go on.
Greek Chorus*: You must go on.”
*Greek Chorus consists of Ed Freel, bifocals at half-mast; Rich Heffron; Sean Barney; Vince Meconi, trolling for yet another high paying job; banking executives; The ‘titular’ leaders of the Democratic Party, including Carper, Coons and Markell; and a cast of insider party aparatchiks with visions of cabinet posts dancing in their heads.
Those not in the Greek Chorus: Progressives. And/or people who support a living wage and/or tax fairness. Plus, of course, the poor.
“I still have serious doubts about their government. So does the Obama administration, for that matter. That’s why this deal is based on mistrust. If some future Iranian regime decides to violate the agreement, we’ll know it.”
I like that quote. Coons to announce his position on Tuesday. Carney, of course, hasn’t made up his mind.
Mark Murphy, co-destroyer of public education along with his governor and boss, is leaving for another ‘opportunity’, not yet announced: “Education Secretary Mark Murphy to Leave Administration after Successful Tenure Marked by Improved Student Achievement Governor nominates long-time Delaware superintendent and leader in state’s schools to build on tremendous progress Dover, DE – Education Secretary Mark […]
By margins significantly larger than Americans as a whole.
If AIPAC gives you permission to use anything other than their propaganda and their money to make an informed decision (Chris, ask them if they’ll let you out of your intellectual padded cell, they might say yes) read this, or at least have a staffer read this to you….
I think the answer may well be yes.
But first, let’s talk about how Pistol Pete threw over his own caucus in order to crawl into bed with the Rethugs. According to several Leg Hall sources, Speaker Schwartzkopf had pledged to reconvene with his caucus to try to recalibrate any budget agreement that could impact core D constituencies. Specifically, those who were at risk of losing 10% in public assistance for health care. He did not hold that promised meeting. Instead, he called the Budget Bill up for a vote, which is why so many D progressives voted no. And, yes, those receiving public assistance saw their monthly stipend cut from $90 monthly to $81. Meanwhile, $1.2 mill worth of additional state police coverage to Sussex County and $3 mill of Ag Lands preservation were the booty claimed by the Rethugs and, not coincidentally, by Sussex County’s most powerful legislator, Schwartzkopf. Oh, and the $5 mill that was transferred from the Transportation Trust Fund in the name of ‘reform’, ended up…nope, not telling you yet.
Soon. Have patience. Let me first start with what might appear to appear to be mundane language, but will prove to be real important, IMHO.
Following perhaps the most embarrassing June performance by a General Assembly that I can recall, at least we have some great tunes to help us turn the page.
9-0? That’s the official score when a baseball team forfeits. Which is pretty much what the GA did. Fortunately, the artists didn’t. Not even close. Best music month of the year so far…
“HOSTAGE-TAKERS WIN. YOU LOSE.”
That will likely be the headline from the last day of session barring something unexpected.
Especially with the Rethugs seemingly determined to abdicate any responsibility to be, um, responsible. For purely id(iot)eological reasons, the R’s have tied any willingness to cooperate to screwing workers through their obsessive need to push for ‘right to work for less’. They have also abandoned any pretense of thinking for themselves, leaving all talking points to their ALEC overlords. Check out their refusal to stop the escalating infrastructure crisis from getting any funding. Check out the result. Greg Lavelle perhaps cemented (the use of ‘cemented’ is deliberate) his position as the Worst Legislator in the General Assembly by his phony demands for ‘reform’ which, for anyone paying attention, simply is a transfer of administrative costs from the Transportation Trust Fund to the operating budget w/o providing a mechanism to pay for it:
The D’s and R’s have finally found something they can both agree on. I had previously written about HS 1 to HB 128, a candidate and party cash grab which was removed from the House Agenda once it was exposed.
Guess what? They’ve got another bill they plan to work under the cover of darkness of June 30 and July 1. And, while they won’t fund $$’s for road building, ‘leadership’, including ‘mortal enemies’ Greg Lavelle and Patti Blevins, are united in crushing any insurgent candidacies under something called a ‘Party Building Fund’. No, it’s not for buildings.
Ladeez and gentlemen, let me introduce to you SB 155, which is sort-of a Delaware version of Citizens United.
The bill creates a new fund for political parties. Here’s the key sentence:
No political party may make any expenditure from its building fund except for the costs of telephone and other communications services and the rental or purchase of equipment, office supplies, or an office or building.
The Del-Tech stench grows fouler by the hour. Despite the fact that no public notice was given, as required by Senate rules, the Senate Finance Commitee (illegally) met today and voted the Del-Tech Relief Act out of committee. It’s on today’s agenda, just as it was on yesterday’s agenda. The difference being that only one Senate rule was violated instead of the two rules that were violated in order for it to be placed on yesterday’s agenda. Make no mistake. The committee met because of what we wrote here yesterday. They’re gonna try to railroad this bill through, and every homeowner will pay w/o having any say over the so-called ‘Community College Infrastructure Fund’.
As Al Mascitti pointed out yesterday, this is not the first time this exact same scheme has been proposed by Del-Tech. When Lonnie George did it, he at least announced the legislation in January, which gave legislators and the public enough (or, for those of you supported it, too much) time to reject it for the blatant rip-off it was. It’s no coincidence that Mark Brainard and the bill’s supporters waited until June 11 to introduce the bill and try to sneak it through w/o any public input. The bill still sucks. As Al also pointed out, tuition at Del-Tech is far below the national average, and a very modest increase in that tuition would pay for this scheme w/o bilking homeowners who have no interest in Del-Tech and have no idea they’re about to be bilked. I call on many of the fine legislators who inexplicably have signed onto this bill to put the brakes on this cynical maneuver.
Sen. Patti Blevins: 1 NRA Lobbyist: 0.
That’s the result of one of the more unusual confrontations in recent Delaware legislative history. Unusual because it’s so not ‘Delaware Way’. And unusual because someone called out the NRA for lying. Also unusual because both Blevins and the lobbyist in question, Rich Armitage, do not generally court controversy. And most unusual in that the President Pro-Tem stated that Armitage “could have faced felony charges for his allegedly false testimony about closed door negotiations involving the gun rights group and the Attorney General’s office over language regarding the marketing of firearm safety programs.”
My, how times have changed. So much so that HB 115(J. Johnson), which ‘permits individuals subject to the supervision of the Delaware Department of Correction to effect a name change based on a sincerely held gender-related identity’, passed the Senate and goes to the Governor. Two R’s, Cloutier and Lopez, voted for the bill, leaving only the Rethug Haters to either vote no or go not voting.
Rep. Kowalko has introduced two bills providing for higher tax brackets for those making over $125K per year. HB 181 and HB 196. While HB 181 is a straightforward addition of two upper income brackets, HB 196 ‘lowers the current tax rates by .05% for each bracket. The bill also creates a new tax bracket at $125,000 with a rate of 7.05%, and an additional bracket at $250,000 with a rate of 7.80%. The bill also provides a tiered reduction of the otherwise available itemized deduction based upon the individual’s taxable income’. I hope that legislators consider these proposals this year. Otherwise, next year’s fiscal picture will make this year’s look tame by comparison. And, uh, next year is an Election Year.
Miracle of miracles. The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council DEFAC), which provides the official estimate of state revenues, has upped its revenue projection by $33 mill, which makes balancing the FY ’16 budget easier. Funny how often that happens. Some claim that it’s BS, or DEFACating. But, it’s OFFICIAL BS. This comes as some of Delaware’s most progressive legislators propose higher income brackets for Delaware’s wealthiest. Now, here’s the problem. The budget deficit for the following fiscal year is projected to be steep. Next year also just happens to be an election year. If the General Assembly is going to pass a more equitable income tax bill and create more revenue, it will have to be this year, not next year. Will the General Assembly finally restore some equity to the tax code, or will it wait and find itself in an almost impossible fiscal position next year? As usual, what I think will happen and what I hope will happen are the diametric opposites of each other. An increase in taxes on the wealthy provides a sustainable stream of revenue. Using one-times and combining them with rosy DEFAC projections simply kicks the can down the road. In this case, the road does not go on forever. Act now. Because it ain’t happenin’ in an Election Year.
I’ve got limited time to write about a whole lotta bills in committee for today. Most importantly, in the Senate Education Committee, HB 50(Kowalko) is again on the schedule. Remember Mike Matthew’s order from last week: Either it gets considered or RIOT.