El Somnambulo's Latest Posts
OK, I’ve been putting it off long enough. I suppose I should briefly discuss Governor Markell’s State of the State Address. Markell states in the address that he is open to all sorts of proposals for bridging the infrastructure funding shortfall, but he’s not gonna lead on this, he’s gonna wait until the General Assembly comes up with something, um, concrete. He also embraced Matt Denn’s proposals for addressing crime and its causes, particularly in Wilmington. And he supported a (wait for it) fact-based task force (as opposed to other task forces). Well, a ‘commission’, not a task force. So commissions are fact-based. Task forces are not. Got it.
While the General Assembly awaits Governor Markell’s State of the State address this Thursday, we already know what won’t be in the governor’s speech: There will be no proposed income tax increase; there will be no proposed gas tax increase. We know that Jack’s millionaire buds have convinced him that they would suffer if they had to pay even a penny more to fund government. So, Jack has already announced that he won’t be asking the wealthy to sacrifice. And, in a gesture that is, um, ungubernatorial, Markell has whined that, since the General Assembly turned its collective noses up at his gas tax proposal last year, he won’t propose anything to close the gap in the state’s infrastructure budget. He’ll just wait for the General Assembly to come up with…something. If only he’d take that approach with public education. His legacy grows more undistinguished by the day.
Perhaps this is the week that Alex Pires gets his customized banking legislation passed. If not, then next week will be the week It’s already passed the House unanimously. As Nancy Willing pointed out, this bill was introduced at the behest of Alex Pires, and it will only benefit Pires’ bank. The article further points out that this may not be the first time that Pires has had undue influence on the General Assembly. Let me point out the obvious: If you or I were disadvantaged by some ‘arcane’ statute, do you think we could get the Speaker to sponsor it, fast-track it, and get it through the General Assembly within a week or two? And just because the Bank Commissioner, who largely does the bidding of the banks, says it’s ‘arcane’, is it really arcane? Or is it just an impediment to a connected businessman who doesn’t want to wait in line and rarely does? Whether the bill deserves passage on its merits is hardly the point. The point is that representative government does not represent most of us. But it DOES represent people with lots of clout, regardless of how they accumulated it. Which is why Alex Pires will get his banking bill.
Talk about your soft openings. When the most urgent piece of legislation appears to be one that would allow smaller eateries to serve beer and wine, then you get a pretty good sense that it could be a slow January.
The other bill on the fast track is a banking bill, and it passed the House unanimously. The sponsors of the bill don’t fill me full of confidence that this is simply an innocuous piece of legislation. It strikes me as a special interest bill, and the interests are those of the banks, not of the consumers. Could someone please give us some background on the gestation and urgency of this bill? And, um, talk me down?
The 148th General Assembly convenes today for its first regular session. Six new legislators, R Rep. Richard Collins (41st), R Rep. Kevin Hensley (9th), D Rep. Sean Lynn (31st), D Rep. Sean Matthews (10th), R Rep. Lyndon Yearick, and R Senator Bryant Richardson, respectively replace D Rep. John Atkins (defeated in general election), D Rep. Rebecca Walker (retired), D Rep. Darryl Scott (retired), D Rep. Dennis E. Williams (defeated in primary), R Rep. Don Blakey (defeated in primary), and Sen. Bob Venables (defeated in general election). The Senate goes from 13 D’s and 8 R’s to 12 D’s and 9 R’s. The House goes from 27 D’s and 14 R’s to 25 D’s and 16 R’s.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR NEWBIES
The Delaware State Senate has 21 members. The President Pro-Tempore leads the Senate, although the Lieutenant Governor often, but not always, presides over the senate sessions as a non-voting member (That, of course, will not happen this session as there is no Lieutenant Governor now that Matt Denn has become the State’s Attorney General). Here is a list of the Senate members. Here is a list of Senate committee assignments.
The House of Representatives has 41 members, currently 25 D’s, 16 R’s. The Speaker of the House presides over the body. You can find the House membership here. Here is a list of House committee assignments.
The General Assembly is in session from the second Tuesday in January through June 30 each year. Three days a week–Tuesday through Thursday. The Senate often returns for a special session in the fall to consider nominations.
The General Assembly breaks for six weeks at the end of January for Joint Finance Committee (budget) hearings and meetings. There is another 2-week break around Easter, and an additional week’s break around Memorial Day. The Memorial Day break often enables the ‘money’ committees to finish work on marking up the budget.The typical General Assembly meets in session about 50 days a year.
Come inside for so much more….
Two major initiatives, and I like them both.
First, his creation of a new Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust is designed to eliminate inherent conflicts within the AG’s office where attorneys represent both agencies and members of the public with concerns about said agencies. This has been an issue dating back as far as I can remember. And then the new Attorney General unveiled a new bill aimed at violent offenders who are prohibited from having weapons and violent offenders who are committing gun-related violence.
The Holmes Brothers, and the world, have lost the great Popsy Dixon. Passed away of cancer at the age of 72. His butterscotch tenor/falsetto and drumming style will resonate in my mind and heart until the day I die. Also, he, Wendell and Sherman were the nicest artists I ever brought to the Arden Gild Hall. A very sad day for me. Please remember him along with me….
The 62 Project ranks the legislators based on the entirety of their careers. Version 2.0 reflects the departures of legislators, the arrival of new legislators, and adjustments to the rankings based on events that followed my initial ranking of individual legislators. For those not familiar with the original project, here’s the link where you can find out a lot more info (and snark) regarding your favorite legislators. I will offer comments for those who moved significantly in either direction. Since the new legislators have not yet…legislated, I have assigned them placeholder positions based on my sense of where they project as we kick off the 148th General Assembly….
Who needs satire when Chip does the work for us? If you’re a loyal DL reader, you OWE IT TO YOURSELF to parse every syllable of this Ode to A Delusional Narcissist. For fun, count the number of times he uses the word ‘historic’ or variation thereof. Lest you doubt that this is Chip’s work, you can access it here.
However, if you are loathe (to steal one of Monsignor Lavelle’s favorite words) to give Chip the web traffic (although the big-ass watch alone is worth a peek), here is Chip in his own words (I know, b/c they’re in the Third Person)….
If this guy wants to be our next Democratic governor, the least he could do is at least pretend to be a Democrat. The bill almost passed, thanks in part to Carney’s supposed bipartisanship.
Maybe he’ll hold a REAL town meeting where someone can ask him how a Democrat votes to screw citizens while giving carte blanche to huge financial institutions that demonstrate time and time again that they will use the lack of regulation to make obscene piles of money by winning a rigged game. A game that the Carneys of this world help rig.
Maybe a real newspaper would ask him the same question. Too bad we no longer have one.
I really hope you guys scope out some of these songs. So much great music falls under the radar. That was certainly the case this year. I almost guarantee you that you’ll find something great that you haven’t heard before. Enough proselytizing. Let’s let the music speak to you: 20. 19. Don’t let the name […]
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in politics and government in Delaware in 2014. Here is a peak inside:
6. Matt Denn elected AG. Didja notice that he plans to be inaugurated at the PAL site on N. Market Street? I think that gives us a clue as to what’s at the top of his priority list.
5. We learn that connected DuPont heir received no jail time after pleading guilty for raping his three-year-old daughter back in 2008. Per usual, no comment from the Beaudhisatva.
10. Bethany Hall Long’s husband caught stealing signs.
Both here and on the Al Mascitti Show at 10 am. Definitely worth following along on DL as I’ve linked to all kinds of stuff, including some of the best work by our contributors, highlighting and lowlighting the ‘winners’.
Per usual, ‘the good’ was the list with the least number of possibilities, no such problems with ‘the bad’ or ‘the ridiculous’.
I always have fun putting this together b/c, when I go back and scroll through our entire year, it’s amazing the stuff that I forgot that was well worth remembering. Although some wish you would forget.
Seeya at 10 on Tuesday..
Inducted as an ‘Early Influence’, they’re so good that they should have gone in long ago. An extremely important link between early r & b, soul, and gospel. Led by a neglected genius in Lowman Pauling, who wrote songs that you know, and created a guitar style that was far ahead of his time. Please listen, you will enjoy these……
Granted, it wasn’t a great year for progressives in Delaware, to put it mildly. A business uber alles governor, a congressional delegation that aids and comforts the enemy, more shenanigans from narcissistic elected officials, and a refusal by the General Assembly to address financial shortfalls that will soon impact Delaware’s infrastructure.
However…we began to see the emergence of coalitions that may well have a profound and positive impact on our future. We also saw some elected officials step up their game. And we saw members of the public lead in challenging some of the most wrong-headed assumptions of our elected officials.
So, here they are: The 2014 Bob Stachnik Memorial MVP Awards. Dedicated to a man who epitomized the spirit of those who created this very blog. A man who, literally and figuratively, sought to ‘re-twinkle the stars’.
OK, kids, take some time and read this article. It’s not long. I’ll wait.
Markell sets up a completely phony choice as the supposed upcoming battle for the ‘soul of the Democratic Party’. According to Markell, the choice is middle-class jobs vs. ‘income redistribution’, aka a living wage:
Markell said Democrats should pursue an “agenda around growth rather than an agenda around redistribution,” saying that “there aren’t a lot of people with middle class jobs who are aspiring to an increase in the minimum wage.”
So, on behalf of this state’s economic overlords, our putative Democratic governor wants to set up a battle of the middle class vs. those who need a living wage. Uh, by the way, in such a battle, neither the middle class nor those in need of a minimum wage wins. The economic overlords do. BTW, Jack, there’s no reason whatsoever why you can’t or shouldn’t pursue an agenda that promotes both growth for the middle class and a living wage. Geez, some of those people earning a living wage could become, dare I say it, middle class.
C’mon, now folks. You have until midnight tomorrow to nominate those Most Valuable to the Progressive Cause in Delaware for 2014.
Yes, I know it was not a great year for progressivism in Delaware. But that opens the door to some below-the-radar picks, those deserving of greater recognition. I’ve got six, and only six, real solid choices, some of them off the beaten track.
So, there’s plenty of room for your suggestions. You’ve got until midnight Friday to submit your choices. A ‘Bulo Tip of the Sombrero awaits… I will post the list next Tuesday right here at 10 am, and will then go on the Al Mascitti show to discuss it.
The next time someone makes an ad hominem attack on state workers, please commend to them the people who work at DMV. In my case, the facility just south of Wilmington off of Rt. 13 across from Casablanca.
I had to take my car through inspection today, and I’d lost my registration card.
So, before going through the lanes, I stopped inside to get a new card. They have a help desk right inside to route people to the proper services, two people answering questions. I told them my problem, and I was told that there was no need to get a card just for inspection, just let the inspectors know.
I went through inspection. When I got to the inspector who handles checking the lights and emissions, I recognized him. He’s been there forever. Many years at the Bancroft facility, and now here. Working a tough job in all kinds of weather, breathing in all those fumes. Always very professional and always has a kind word. When I last went through two years ago, I got a chance to talk to him, and he’s had all kinds of health issues. Yet here he is, doing a great job. When I think of why state employees deserve good pay, I think of him. I dare any of those reptilian Rethugs from Chateau Country to do his job for even one day.
Then, I was able to handle the entire transaction of getting the new registration and tag w/o leaving my car. Using the Jetsons technology. Don’t think it took more than three minutes.
I almost look forward to going to DMV now. A wonderfully crafted customer-centric system and great workers. When you consider the range of issues and the range of clients they deal with, you just have to take your hat off to them.
Every year, I recognize those who were most valuable to the progressive cause in Delaware. The nominees can be progressives, but they don’t have to be. In fact, they can be members of the Forces of Evil who unwittingly advanced the progressive cause. They can be elected officials, appointed officials, candidates, or any member of the general public. Maybe even a group as opposed to an individual. Knock yourselves out.
I am putting together this year’s list, and I need your help (but then, you already knew that).
Deadline is Friday, December 12 at 11:59 p.m. Please don’t just provide names, but rather, tell us how they advanced the progressive cause in 2014.
You are now officially on the clock. Whaddayagot?
State Rep. Bryon Short (D-Highland Woods) today told Delaware Liberal that he is considering a run for State Insurance Commissioner.
While he has not made a decision on the race, he told me that it’s important that the IC’s office does an effective job of ‘setting the marketplace’ to ensure competition and consumer choices, and to ‘effectively address the concerns and problems facing consumers’. He also said that the work of the office ‘is very important, but unfortunately people aren’t made aware as to just how important it is, and how it impacts them’.
Short has attended the last two NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) meetings in order to extend his knowledge for both his House committee work and to possibly prepare for a statewide run.
I was planning to finish this in time for…well, some time before now. However, sloth and other events intervened. So here we have it, 1-62, for each and every member of the 147th Delaware General Assembly, based on their careers, not just the past session. For those I previously profiled, you can click on the links. For the rest, the floor is open for questions and vitriol.
1. Sen. Karen Peterson: A fierce negotiator/advocate who successfully leverages her bargaining power to pass progressive legislation. Imagine that. Accruing power not for personal ambition, but to pass a progressive agenda. An easy choice for #1.
2. Rep. Mike Barbieri: Quietly does outstanding work on kids’ issues, and has helped turn back the neanderthal mandatory sentencing excesses of the Sharp/Smith/Vaughn/Brady years. He’s impressed me from Day 1. A thinker and a doer. We need more social workers in the General Assembly.
3. Sen. Bob Marshall: Has gotten better and more effective as he’s gotten older. He serves as perhaps the leading Democrat from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party in challenging Jack Markell’s DINO-ism. He’s got at least one more minimum wage increase in him.
4. Rep. Melanie George Smith: Her work, along with Barbieri and others, on sentencing reform, was legislating at its best. It wasn’t easy, it required a tremendous attention to detail, plus political smarts. Forget her political roots, focus on her legislative skills.
5. Sen. Dave Sokola: Anyone who thinks it was easy for a legislator from the Pike Creek/Hockessin area to support progressive reform wasn’t around when he got elected. That’s what he did and that’s what he does. And, while he gets criticism from some of our education people, he stood up to the ‘forced busing’ bashers, including his own Pro-Tem, Tom Sharp. His sponsorship of civil unions reflects the kind of person he is.