Delaware

Consulting is Not Policing

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on February 8, 2016 4 Comments
Consulting is Not Policing

We’ve been talking for a few weeks now about former Philadelphia Chief of Police Charles Ramsey providing consulting services to the WPD. The NJ provides some detail on his $16,000/month contract — namely, that there is a very ill-defined SOW for Ramsey’s services, and that one of his Deputies from Philly is means to be on the ground here working. Working on what is still the question — which is the question for all of the consultants that the Williams Administration has hired for the WPD.

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Yippee! $10.50 an hour… in 2020. Maybe.

Filed in Delaware by on February 8, 2016 0 Comments

I should be celebrating. After all, the Delaware Senate actually managed to pass a bill last week that would increase Delaware’s paltry minimum wage to $10.50 an hour.

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In Which the Western Sussex Republican Club Gets Its Comeuppance

Filed in Delaware by on February 6, 2016 22 Comments
In Which the Western Sussex Republican Club Gets Its Comeuppance

It’s definitely political season and it’s time to watch some of the local GOP dust off and exercise their resentments. They do this, of course, because they can’t figure out how to connect with enough voters to actually govern. They also do it because they think that their resentments and bigotries are somehow supposed to entitle them to run the world. The latest local exercise in GOP bigotry was directed at Sarah McBride, who recently endorsed Bryon Short for the US House seat being vacated byJohn Carney. The Western Sussex Republican Club responded to Sarah’s Facebook announcement by reposting it with a snide and hateful comment, with a screen shot shown below. Sarah had losts of people supporting her after this stupid bit of business was posted, including a quick (but deleted) comment from John Fluharty who observed that stuff like this is why the GOP can’t win. The Western Sussex Republican Club has deleted its post, so the comments opposing them are gone. But both Sean Barney and Bryan Townsend took to Twitter to stand with Sarah and to denounce this hateful business. Note to the GOP — this stuff may speak to somebody, but this is not the stuff of electoral coalitions. Not in Delaware, it isn’t.

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Have We Witnessed the De Facto Repeal of the Death Penalty in Delaware? Yes. Maybe.

Filed in Delaware by on February 2, 2016 6 Comments
Have We Witnessed the De Facto Repeal of the Death Penalty in Delaware? Yes. Maybe.

Hear me out. This is exciting.

As you may be aware, a hold has been placed on all death penalty cases in Delaware by the Delaware Supreme Court.

The reason? The U. S. Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional part of a Florida statute that grants exclusively to judges the right to determine a sentence of death in capital cases.

Guess what? Delaware has the exact same provision in its statute.  The irony is that it didn’t used to be that way.  No, AG Jane Brady, Sen. Tom Sharp, Sen. Jim Vaughn and others demagogued the sheep in Dover into taking the power away from juries and giving it to judges.  Why? ‘Coddling criminals’, blah blah blah. How great would it be if they ended up sowing the seeds for death penalty repeal?

I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t see how Delaware’s statute can be constitutional if Florida’s is not.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  Only the Delaware General Assembly can change the statute.  Come inside to see why that’s important….

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This One’s For You, Kevin

Filed in Delaware by on January 29, 2016 23 Comments
This One’s For You, Kevin

Earlier today I asked Kevin O. to stop turning Delaware Dem’s death penalty post into an abortion post. My comment was brief, but I should have taken the time to explain that his comments were off topic and that he was free to post his thoughts on an open thread. For that, I apologize. Kevin […]

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Delaware Political (More Or Less) Weekly: January (More Or Less) 22-28, 2016

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on January 29, 2016 13 Comments
Delaware Political (More Or Less) Weekly: January (More Or Less) 22-28, 2016

Kathleen McGuiness is for real.  Except for that whole residency thingy.  BTW, turns out she moved out to Park Slope b/c a couple of her kids are competitive snowboarders.  Yes, she raised a lot of money. What really surprised me is that almost all of the money comes from Delaware.  Pretty much every D in Sussex County with money has ponied up. Guess there are more D’s with money in Sussex County than I thought. Bethany Hall-Long has raised a lot of $$’s as well.  Ciro Poppiti has enough money to be competitive. Sherry Dorsey Walker, Greg Fuller, and Brad Eaby don’t.

Trinidad Navarro better get his ass in gear.  Those who deal with the insurance commissioner’s office have apparently resigned themselves to, or more likely, fallen in love with the idea of, Incompetent Karen Weldin Stewart serving as Insurance Commissioner.  He’s only raised $11K?  Vs. $83K?

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Representative Mike Ramone, Charter School Lobbyist

Filed in Delaware by on January 28, 2016 6 Comments
Representative Mike Ramone, Charter School Lobbyist

Mr. Ramone needs to read the regs pertaining to per student funding in public education. When a student moves from a District school to a Charter school, the tax money collected by the original district for spending on that student goes with the student to the charter. There is no fiscal “responsibility” borne by the Charter, the sending District is paying that child’s per-student expense. If Mr. Ramone doesn’t believe that, I have a $21 million charter bill Christina School District is paying this year for him to look at. Email me, Rep Ramone: brianstephan@gmail.com and I can help you understand how public schools are funded in this state.

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Weds., Jan. 27, 2016

Filed in Delaware by on January 27, 2016 7 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Weds., Jan. 27, 2016

We could still have an epic week in store–or it could turn into a nothingburger.  The minimum wage bill still awaits Senate action, and death penalty repeal maybe gets considered in the House. Or not.  Probably depends on whether the respective sponsors think they have the votes.  If you haven’t contacted YOUR legislators, what are you waiting for?

The minimum wage bill has already been amended primarily to reflect the fact it wasn’t considered last year.  Senate Amendment 3, which passed by a 13-8 vote, adjusts the effective dates for the increases, and accordingly delays the implementation of the COLA increase until 2021. Pure party line vote. The bill appears to need at least one more D vote to pass. DINO Brian Bushweller is one of the holdouts.  Who are the others? BTW, check out Colin Bonini’s amendment to the bill. The guy is a joke.

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Tues., Jan. 26, 2016

Filed in Delaware by on January 26, 2016 11 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Tues., Jan. 26, 2016

Undaunted by the prospect of blowing yet a greater hole in the budget for the next few years, the State Senate joined the House in passing legislation that would ‘remove disincentives’ for job creation for the corporate overlords.  The Senate passed the bill with only one ‘not voting’ (Townsend, who was a co-sponsor on the bill), and the bill goes to the Governor.  Keep this in mind in June when the Honorables (ongoing h/t to Ralph Moyed) shrug their collective shoulders and lament the ‘tough choices’ (read screw anybody but the corporate overlords) they had to make.  They, of course, didn’t have to make them. They made clear that bowing to their corporate overlords is business as usual.  A projected $50 mill shortfall to the budget over the first 2 1/2 years the legislation is in effect.  Just curious: Who, if anybody, will keep track of all those new jobs the corporate overlords will create now that the ‘disincentives’ have been removed?  Based on previous experience, my prediction is ‘Nobody’. A pure unvarnished giveaway.

Delaware’s ‘apology’ for its role in perpetuating slavery passed the Senate. Three no votes.  Hocker, Lawson, and Bonini.  None of whom have likely ever cracked a history book and read of Delaware’s role in perpetuating slavery.

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Wilmington Mayor Race Cattle Call — Show Me the Money Edition

Filed in Delaware by on January 22, 2016 28 Comments
Wilmington Mayor Race Cattle Call — Show Me the Money Edition

Campaign finance reports for the year ending 31 December 2015 were due into the Department of Elections by 20 January 2016, so let’s take a look at what those reports might tell us about the race for Mayor of Wilmington:

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UPDATED: NCCo President Chris Bullock Not Running for a Second Term?

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on January 20, 2016 8 Comments
UPDATED: NCCo President Chris Bullock Not Running for a Second Term?

That’s what my sources tell me this evening. I talked to a couple of typically excellent sources this evening who tell me that NCCo President Chris Bullock will not run for a second term. A variety of reasons were offered, not the least of which is that his church is experiencing some turmoil and he wants to address that full time. According to these same sources, NCCo Rep Penrose Hollins would run for NCCo President. If so, I’d say it’s about damned time. Announcements from both men are expected as early as tomorrow.

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Tues., Jan. 19, 2016

Filed in Delaware by on January 19, 2016 4 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Tues., Jan. 19, 2016

You didn’t read about it in the ‘Paper of Record’, but the so-called ‘Delaware Competes’ bill flew through the House (only two no votes, Kowalko and Williams) and is now poised for equally-swift consideration in the Senate.  Actually, you didn’t read about it in the daily Session Activity Report, either.  Unless…you scrolled all the way down and saw that the bill had already been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.  Stealth all the way.  So, I’ve got a legit question to some of our progressive legislators:  Did you vote Yes because you’ve been informed as to how the bill will be paid for?  If so, would you care to share it with us? If not, why did you vote yes? These are not snark questions, I really want to know.  I’m missing something (insert joke here), just don’t know what.

HJR 10 (Bolden), in which Delaware apologizes for its role in slavery, also passed the House. The one ‘no’ vote was John Atkins’ replacement, Rep. Richard Collins.

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Delaware Political Weekly: Jan. 8-14, 2016

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on January 15, 2016 10 Comments
Delaware Political Weekly: Jan. 8-14, 2016

Denise D. Bowers has filed to run against State Senator Cathy Cloutier for the 5th SD seat in Brandywine Hundred.  Based on registration, this projects as a competitive race. Current figures:  13,703 D; 11,169 R; and 8790 I.

Her candidacy does not come without questions.  She is a 21-year veteran of the Wilmington Police Department, although it’s not entirely clear that she was on duty for all that time.  She filed at least two legal actions concerning her job during her time on the force.  The first deals with compensation for a scar on her knee, aka a ‘ serious and permanent disfigurement’The second was a prolonged litigation concerning her ‘involuntary retirement’ from the force. In fact, even though she allegedly was a police officer until 2008, it is not clear whether she was on the job after 2005, when she suffered the knee injury mentioned in the second suit. A swift Google search also reveals several actions brought against Bowers and her husband for unpaid taxes on rental properties in Wilmington.  OTOH, Bowers is president of the Northwood Civic Association and is currently the State Director of the Treatment Access Center, the liaison between the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health and the courts system.  I’m sure that some of you must have met her.  I need feedback, pipples!

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thurs., Jan. 14, 2016

Filed in Delaware by on January 14, 2016 11 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thurs., Jan. 14, 2016

ALERT!! MARKELL, CHAMBER AND LONGHURST GIVE MIDDLE FINGER TO DELAWAREANS:

HB 235, the so-called Delaware Competes Bill, is the first bill the House will consider this year.  What’s amazing, well, not amazing, but typical of the primordial ooze behind this, is that the bill will be considered under Motion to Suspend Rules.  Here’s why. Even though the bill cleared the House Revenue & Taxation Committee, the bill was reassigned to the House Appropriations Committee (the committee is comprised of the House members of the Joint Finance Committee). That’s because the bill has a significant cost. Such bills are typically not considered until/unless JFC does the fiscal legerdemain.  In this case, even though the bill will have a significant annual cost, the House will try to bypass the budgetary process.  Since the bill wouldn’t even take effect until January of 2017, rushing this through serves no purpose other than to satisfy the Chamber and its millionaire minions.  This is a transfer of wealth from ordinary citizens to the politically-connected corporate overlords, pure and simple. We’ll pay somehow, just wait. Last days of June when they hope that no one is watching.  Hey,  whaddayawant from Markell, Longhurst and their (wait for it) ilk? Call your state reps!

What’s not on the House Agenda under Motion to Suspend Rules is HB 50–the Opt-Out Bill.  As opposed to HB 235, doing this under MTSR is legit.  The bill has been through the committee process, was passed (twice) by the House, and it’s a veto override, not consideration of new legislation.  Now, maybe the House will entertain a motion from the floor, maybe Speaker Pete won’t, but it sure as hell should be considered.  Has the cynicism of Pistol Pete and Vindictive Val become so great that they can ignore the will of the members of the chamber?  We’ll see.

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General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Weds., Jan. 13, 2016

Filed in Delaware by on January 13, 2016 37 Comments
General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Weds., Jan. 13, 2016

We have two bills that somebody wants fast-tracked in January:

HB 240 (Longhurst)  ‘establishes the Statewide Afterschool Initiative Learning Program. The Program will provide grants to public schools, that qualify as Title I schools, to develop afterschool engagement of students that will provide extended learning, homework assistance, enrichment, and nutrition.’  Sounds good.  There is, however, no funding mechanism mentioned in the bill.  Nor does the bill, for reasons I cannot understand, require a fiscal note.  So, how are they gonna pay for the program?  Will it be paid for from the Mortgage Settlement Funds? If not, what are you defunding in order to fund this? We may or may not find out sooner rather than later.  Bill’s scheduled to be considered during today’s House Education Committee.  BTW, here’s my uninformed guess as to what’s happening here:  Sponsors can claim that this is merely ‘enabling’ legislation and that the funding mechanism will be determined by JFC.  Which, of course, is totally disingenuous.  You don’t need enabling legislation if the JFC funds such a program and establishes the criteria in the epilog language.  But that would bypass touchy-feely brochure fluff. Someone, please prove me wrong.

HB 235 (Longhurst), the ‘Delaware Competes Act‘, allegedly ‘reforms Delaware’s business tax code to incentivize job creation and investment in Delaware, to make Delaware’s tax structure more competitive with other states, and to support small businesses by making tax compliance less burdensome. The principal change in the Act is to remove disincentives for companies to create Delaware jobs and invest in Delaware property that currently exists in how income is apportioned to Delaware for purposes of the corporate income tax’.  In other words, tweaking the formula to remove inequities that create disincentives to job creation.  Fine.  Here’s what they didn’t tell you.  This is not some revenue-neutral tweaking.  Nope. There is a fiscal note attached to this bill, and here are the projected costs to the state’s coffers:

Fiscal Year 2017             $ 8,200,000

Fiscal Year 2018             $17,600,000

Fiscal Year 2019             $22,900,000

So, let’s be honest here.  It’s yet another sop to business with not even a projection as to how many jobs will be created due to the removal of alleged disincentives.  And this is annual revenue loss. 

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Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Tues., Jan. 12, 2016.

Filed in Delaware by on January 12, 2016 10 Comments
Delaware General Assembly Pre-Game Show: Tues., Jan. 12, 2016.

My outlook for January: Real interesting real fast. Just like today’s Al Show will be.

The second session of the 148th General Assembly kicks off today.  Since it’s not a new General Assembly, everything that was in place on July 1 remains in place today.  It’s gonna be a wild and wooly month.  You can look forward to:

1. Votes on overriding the veto of HB 50-the ‘opt-out’ bill. The bill passed both houses with veto-proof majorities.  The House vote was overwhelming, 36-3, so it should get through the House in comfortable fashion. The final Senate vote was 15-6, so that is the chamber where Markell might be able to flip a couple of senators.  I will be especially interested to see whether her run for Lieutenant Governor might play into Sen. Bethany Hall-Long switching sides.  I’d like to point out that HB 50 has already had a key impact.  The decision by the Department of Education to cancel the ‘Smarter Balanced’ test for juniors in favor of the SAT would almost certainly not have been made without the catalyst of HB 50.  In fact, you may recall that Sen. Bryan Townsend introduced and passed an amendment extending the opt-out provision to high school juniors.  That amendment is no longer necessary, for the best of reasons.

More inside…

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A Wilmington Game-Changer? Former Philly Police Chief Ramsey Hired.

Filed in Delaware by on January 11, 2016 2 Comments
A Wilmington Game-Changer? Former Philly Police Chief Ramsey Hired.

No, not as police chief. But as a public safety consultant. The only question is, is this a consultant that Dennis Williams will listen to?  He hired him, so I guess the answer is yes, but it’s Dennis Williams we’re talking about here.  Anyway, here’s what he’s supposed to do:

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A State of the Union to Remember

Filed in Delaware, Featured, National by on January 10, 2016 11 Comments
A State of the Union to Remember

I was essentially beyond words when Christy told me. Braeden’s been to the White House twice before, when he won in 2013 and when he was asked back to speak at the Kids’ State Dinner winners in 2014, and both trips were humbling and amazing, but this one is something else. To be asked to sit in a room with Congress, the Supreme Court justices, most of the president’s cabinet, and listen to one of the most important speeches the president can deliver, to be interviewed and featured by Time Magazine, to have your bio posted on the White House website, I don’t even know what to say. I couldn’t be more proud of Braeden and the ideas he’s come up with, the way he’s implemented them, and how he’s stuck with it for the last 3 years.

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We don’t need more guns in Delaware’s state parks

Filed in Delaware by on January 8, 2016 6 Comments

If my gun-toting friends out there are so afraid to go to a Delaware state park unarmed, here’s a simple suggestion – stay home.

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Delaware Political Weekly: Jan. 1-7, 2016

Filed in Delaware by on January 8, 2016 6 Comments
Delaware Political Weekly: Jan. 1-7, 2016

Hey, it’s an ELECTION YEAR! Try to contain your enthusiasm. At least we’ve got some new news to share. But first, let’s see where we stand regarding already-filed candidates.

Karen Hartley-Nagle Primaries Chris Bullock for NCC President. While Bullock hasn’t filed, we know he’s running. How do we know? Because we (or, to be accurate, I) have received content-free e-mails from Bullock in his capacity as NCC Prez throughout 2015. Touchy-feely crap. I think his campaign is paying for them, but I’m not sure.  Perennial candidate Hartley-Nagle could pose a challenge, especially if she is part of an unofficial anti-Gordon ticket.

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2015: The Good. The Bad. The Ridiculous.

Filed in Delaware by on January 5, 2016 13 Comments
2015: The Good. The Bad. The Ridiculous.

Because this list is generally a critical review of the year’s events, I’ve decided not to place Beau Biden’s death or Joe’s flirtation with running for President on the lists.  Who is to say how one should react under such circumstances? And how does one rank a death? Answer to both questions: I don’t know. So, I won’t do it.

We start as always, with the list with the fewest nominees: The Good.  Because, let’s face it, on balance, this was not a good year for Delaware.  Much closer to an annus horribilis, or whatever Queen Elizabeth calls it.

Wherever possible, I’ve linked to an article that provides context.

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Colin Bonini: Tax Cheat

Filed in Delaware by on January 4, 2016 10 Comments
Colin Bonini: Tax Cheat

Let’s see. He takes taxpayers’ money for Sunset Committee meetings he doesn’t attend.  He has never voted for a state budget. He lied about having a Master’s Degree he never came close to completing.

It turns out he didn’t pay his taxes either.  Had three separate  federal tax liens filed against him. Over $28K owed (Other documents available upon request).  At what point does this reach a critical mass of fraudulence?

You know, with a record like that, there’s only one elective body where he’d feel right at home: Wilmington City Council.

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Pay Per Pupil?

Filed in Delaware by on January 3, 2016 29 Comments
Pay Per Pupil?

Imagine if we paid for other government services on a per use basis. Fire companies. They can’t douse your burning home until you pay them. Paramedics can’t begin to administer emergency medical care until your form of payment clears. Police can’t come take your car accident report until they verify your credit card transaction goes through. They can’t investigate your home invasion until you remit payment. The 911 phone system. “The fee for this service is $2.99 per minute for the first minute, and $1.99 per minute thereafter, please enter your 16-digit credit or debit card number followed by the pound sign”. Transportation. I take Route 40 to work sometimes. Sometimes I take 896. Imagine if they set up EZ Pass sensors at every point where a secondary road connected.

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Watching Mayor Williams Get Played By His Own “Take Credit for These Ideas” Strategy

Filed in Delaware by on December 31, 2015 19 Comments
Watching Mayor Williams Get Played By His Own “Take Credit for These Ideas” Strategy

I’ve been following the news from my Holiday Location and it is looking like Mayor Dennis Williams is being hung by his own “We’re Not Going to Let This Commission Take Credit for These Ideas” strategy in his effort to push back against having to live with the accountability (and potentially some consequences) that would come with a grant being provided by the Joint Finance Committee to help the City pay for foot patrols. You’ll recall that the Williams Administration’s response to the Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission report was to claim that they had already implemented most of the recommendations made — with the help of the VRN folks, not the Governor. There is wide skepticism about this claim that they’ve implemented most of those recommendations — especially from me — and the JFC looking to send the Police Foundation back into the WPD to check on progress is an excellent accountability measure. And if I am Mayor Dennis Williams with a re-election hanging in the balance because he is widely seen as utterly ineffective in managing the crime problem (in spite of campaign promises) — it would be Good News all the way around if one of the Commission’s consultants could say that progress is actually being made as promised.

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DowDuPont: Better living through layoffs

Filed in Delaware by on December 22, 2015 5 Comments

“The pink slips were placed in the stockings with care…”

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