“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.
I haven’t been blogging a lot because this spring and summer have been crazy. My youngest graduated high school, had her wisdom teeth removed, and attended orientation at the university she finally decided on. My oldest knocked off a summer course at UD (He’s starting his senior year of Mech Engineering and decided to take a required gen-ed Philosophy course over the summer mainly because he knew he wouldn’t give it the attention it needed given his course load this year. Sounded like a good philosophy to me!) Add to that all the shopping for my daughter’s dorm, ordering textbooks, finalizing class schedules, endless list making, packing up two kids, scheduling doctor’s appointments before both of them left the state, and fitting in a lot of family time and you’ll see why my blogging lagged.
I still read DL every day!
But this weekend everything came to a screeching halt. They left. In the blink of an eye I went from having a million things to do and a house full of people (and chaos!) to… silence. That freaked me out.
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 […]
Because Wilmington taxpayers spending $8,000 on Uber billboards. Not that $8K would go far in terms of additional policing, but this shows you the fiscal priorities of this Mayor while he and his Police Chief have decided that schilling for more funds from the State is their main job.
The city Office of Economic Development is spending $8,000 under a one-month contract for four billboards with the message “Wilmington proudly welcomes UBER” and a picture of Williams. The billboards also include a website address where residents can apply to become a driver for the service.
According to Kavips (posted on August 1st):
It has been 7 days now that the Delaware Department has sat on the results of the Smarter Balanced Assessments. Day one was the release by other states of their preliminary data alerting all that the state now had the results…
One must ask why in the “most open and transparent administration in Delaware’s history” (Markell’s state of the state claim) we are still waiting for the preliminary data to be released.
Do we really have the results? The test was given last spring (March and April) so you’d think for a test to have educational impact the results would be available quickly.
Today, we get a hilarious press release from the Mayor’s Office announcing that the WPD’s Operation Disrupt is now coming back. This is the Operation Disrupt put into place with great fanfare after multiple shootings in January — pulling the city’s Community Police Unit, as well as resources from other special units to flood the streets of certain sections of the city with officers. And only for eight hours in the evening and only for 5 days a week. Sundays were covered by NCCOPD and Mondays were covered on an ad hoc basis. Operation Disrupt started winding down in March and by the time that the WPSSC presented its report, Operation Disrupt was a shadow of its former self, with most of the special unit officers returned to their units and the CPU officers preparing to move on to other assignments. This is March 31. The NJ reported that Operation Disrupt was being reconfigured into a 7 officer unit that would specifically target certain areas. Then it said that Operation Disrupt was over on June 5, which may be when the original configuration ended. And then — TA DA! — Operation Disrupt is BACK and Mayor and the Chief are pulling the newly deployed CPU to do the larger effort.
Very proud of Rashmi Rangan and the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, Inc. for stepping up and asking for an official investigation into whether or not the settlement funds Delaware received have been misued. You’ll remember that the GA grabbed those funds to fill their own budget deficit. The one they created by not being able to ask for additional revenues. And you’ll also recall that California was sued over this same money grab by its legislature and was told by the courts to pay it back. Ms. Rangan sent her request directly to the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch:
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.
Last night there was a meeting of the Wilmington City Council Public Safety Committee and of the Committee of the Whole — intended to discuss the budget amendment that would authorize two new Inspector positions and and a Chief Information Officer for the WPD. What you could tell when the conversation started was that this […]
“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.
Wilmington’s City Council Looks to Wash Its Hands of the City’s Safety Problem and Just Throw Money At It
Timed for the Friday afternoon news dump, Wilmington’s City Council has scheduled a joint Committee of the Whole and a Public Safety meeting to debate the City budget’s first budget amendment (not a month after the new budget went into effect). This budget amendment will add funds to the WPD budget to create two new Inspector positions and one civilian CIO position. The meeting is this Monday (June 29, 2015) at the City Council chambers starting at 5pm. This amendment has been revised from the original ask, now it provides approval for 3 new positions (rather than 4), does not add to the authorized strength of the Department and now spends just $285,000 of a projected surplus. A projected surplus that no one has any confidence in and AGAIN, I do not understand why we are committing to spending money that we think that we might have, rather than money that we actually do have. I’ll extend that to wonder why they are having this hearing at all right now — given that the GA has blown a hole in their budget and no one know what the world will look like on July 1, it seems clueless to spend any time talking about more spending until you know that your budget is intact.
This is reported to me by multiple sources at Leg Hall, (and the NJ!)with counties and other municipalities (and the REALTORS) furiously pushing back on this as well as the decrease in revenue sharing for the Real Estate Transfer tax. None of this is a done deal until the legislature takes its final vote, but blowing big holes in every single county and municipal entity here in Delaware doesn’t strike me as the most productive bit of business. Of course, they wouldn’t have such a big problem if they had passed a gas tax last year. Or if they had even passed the weak tea of the fee increases this week:
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.”
In Which We Find Neither Accountability or Fiscal Sensibility in the Wilmington City Council — AGAIN
Tonight, the Wilmington City Council will vote on an amendment to the budget to add more management staff to the WPD. They will do that without having any hearings, with little notice to the public and without Bud Freel (the Finance Chair) in attendance. Councilman Freel is one of the few points of fiscal accountability (heck of any accountability) in the City Council and doing this without him available (guess Council President Gregory did not offer Bud first class tickets to come back to vote) and without a good public airing is good government malpractice. But then, we are talking about a group of people who aren’t much interested in good government — or, frankly, in representing their constituents. Here is what is being voted on:
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.