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:
I feel like a Kremlinologist. So there is this AP tidbit that Vice President and Dr. Biden are staying in Washington this weekend, which is rare since they usually go home to Delaware on the weekends. It goes unmentioned in the article, but obviously they are staying close to the Walter Reed Hospital, which is a quick trip up 16th Street from Massachusetts Avenue and the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory. We have to assume that Beau Biden is still admitted to that hospital, since we have no information to the contrary. The highlight of the AP article is that the Vice President golfed yesterday afternoon with the President. So Beau’s condition is serious enough that it has kept the Bidens in DC and Beau still in the hospital after four days, but not critical enough that the Vice President can’t go play golf.
In this week’s address, the President commemorated Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country.
In his weekly message, Governor Markell discusses a statewide effort to end homelessness among veterans in Delaware by the end of 2015.
House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst discusses the infrastructure improvement funding bill the House passed. The proposed Division of Motor Vehicles fee increases would raise $23.9 million that would fund infrastructure projects throughout Delaware. Many of the fees identified have not been increased in more than 20 years.
Some real good news to start the Memorial Day weekend. Some of the cuts were to positions that had previously been funded by Race To The Top but are now transitioning to the state. They actually cut $3.75 mill in bloat:
The Joint Finance Committee voted to eliminate 10 controversial, high-paid positions in the Department of Education to find more than $1.5 million in savings as they continued to mark up Markell’s $3.9 billion budget proposal.
Lawmakers on the budget-writing committee also reduced funding for additional education initiatives, including teacher preparation programs, data analysis and recruitment efforts.
They almost did even more, as a proposal to cut an additional $2 mill in “additional funding related to Race to the Top failed by a 7-5 vote.”
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.
Remember Rebecca Walker? She’s the former chair of the House Judiciary Committee who buried the death penalty repeal bill in her committee for most of 2013 and all of 2014.
Remember Rebecca Walker? She’s the former legislator who claimed she was running for reelection in 2014, had actually filed, waited until after the filing deadline, then withdrew her name, thus denying the Democratic voters in her district the right to choose her successor via primary. Remember why Rebecca Walker claimed she withdrew? She said that her work would not enable her to continue to serve. As if she just found that out right after the filing deadline.
Well, guess what ‘good fortune’ has been bestowed upon former State Rep. Rebecca Walker?
If you guessed a $96K state job that required no public posting and which reunites her with her police pals with whom she scuttled death penalty repeal, you would be correct.
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.”
From the News Journal:
Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden and a Democratic candidate for governor of Delaware in 2016, has been hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for an undisclosed illness.
The vice president’s office confirmed Tuesday that Beau Biden was undergoing treatment, but did not go into further details.
Alright. First things first. I really don’t think there is any Delawarean out there, save the truly evil conservatives among us who are already destined for Hell, who doesn’t wish Beau Biden the best of health, and have been wishing him a recovery from whatever it is he has been dealing with lo these many years now. I truly hope whatever Mr. Biden is getting treatment for is not serious and he is getting well.
And yes, in a perfect world, normally, we all are entitled to privacy in our private lives and concerning our medical treatments.
But, “undisclosed illness” and “did not go into further details?”
That has to stop. Now.
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.