Begin with two minute introductions.

Baker: voice shaky, (like a liar?) Immediately accuses Jud of taking property away from landowners… (I’m thinking: what? is he crazy? Sounds like a stupid developer my spouse said). Property ownership is not a privilege; that makes it sound like it can be taken away from you. That is scary to me.

Bennett: calm, confident like one telling the truth: my opponent has taken parts of my platform, and falsely represented my intent, such as taking property away from landowners, which is certainly not true.

On their Land Use Plan…

Baker: Jud is a communist. He won’t let developers do whatever they want. (paraphrased) Jud pushed for a bill in State Legislature which would Give the state control of code changes instead of the county. State control pure communist.

Bennett: That is not true. To cut down on density of the wear and tear on the land, I once proposed 10 acre building lots per house…. Roads, sewers, infrastructure including schools should be developed before the building of tons of houses, perhaps far too many for the community to bear. Developers should pay, not taxpayers.

On support groups

Baker: communist

Bennett: better growth, the term communist is ridiculous.

On examples where change is needed.

Bennett: Next to marsh farm . County did nothing.. Future plans need specificity… Whether it is the village concept, cluster housing, better situations for commercial development, wider use of open areas.

Baker: I have no development in mind… when developments are done, laws should be followed. Sliding on rules, that’s been done in past, it needs clear concise rules which can be followed….

Animated signs?

Bennett: County should enforce Roger’s own signs. Rogers installed most of them and therefore the ordinance should be either enforced or get rid of it…

Baker: Same as Bennett. Enforce ordinances, or change law…

What about Taxpayer $ to Charity Groups: handed out by council members.

Baker: Practice rubs me the wrong way. He would use $60,000 to build patronage for himself, and would feel uncomfortable buying votes. Recommends doing it in an open way that can be verified.

Bennett: Mark and I agree. Discretionary funds, $60,000 needs documented.

Why are you the best choice to cover the dispensation tax dollars?

Bennett:
I have the wealth of experience. Have made and lost a lot of money. Right now on the high side and hope to stay there. County is running deficits for two years now because transfer tax receipts are down. Would not have bought that land and built ….

Baker: I’m the best choice because of Baker Petroleum: It’s a Competitive industry. I manage abudget, I watch expenses, I maintain facilities, I manage a budget.

Prayer at County meetings?

Baker: uh..uh…are they now? (hesitant)…. yes?

Bennett: Yes, absolutely!

Build parks?

Bennett: Parks would be good in principal, but without money now is not the time. Down the road, when flush perhaps, Now vote no.

Baker: Recreation is important but now… without finances, it is not the time. Would continue seed money to grass roots organizations who provide recreation to citizens.

New County Services?

Baker: No

Bennett: Controversial, and falsely misrepresented by Baker. Would recommend the hiring of two attorneys for less money $220,000 versus the $400,000 thousand dollars. Hire inspectors for additional workloads. In house attorneys working for the country would be tougher on enforcing the codes, than those attorneys paid by the developers to enforce the county’s code against those developers paying them.

Baker: Does not understand those numbers. $88,000 for 1st attorney, $77,000 for the 2nd attorney, $25,000 for secretary; 10% for benefits, 12% for FICA, and 46,000 a year to provide office space…Other expenses, need to buy computers, need to contract specialists, need to question the competence of 88,000 and 77,000 attorneys…. Math does not add up.

Bennett: Several attorneys he’s talked to, think it will work. Baker is ignoring the current attorney’s performance. He does not want to foster bureaucracy. That is just not true….He recommends a more efficient operation, thereby saving money. Before we hired inspectors, …did that cause big government?

Baker: Still $165,000 and added 10%, 12%, 15% percent additional costs.

Bennett: You have to consider lawsuits we paid because we failed to appeal their decision because of the legal expense… It will save more than it costs.

Baker : For that we have insurance, and deductibles to pay.

Bennett: With the Marsh farm debacle, the attorney was double dipping and allowed something that was not legal.. The Marsh got screwed.

Baker: We should count on our Councilman for ethics, not an attorney. Whats the use of having a Councilman (who is owned by developers) if you can’t count on him for ethics. We don’t need an attorney (to represent homeowners) and shouldn’t have two more.

On Code enforcement:

Baker: Free fall of subdivisions being built from 144 in 2007 to 18 now. We need to make sure laws are followed. We are overly regulated as it is. It costs residents 1000’s of dollars, due to county regulations to build shed in yard

Bennett: From January to August of this year, 3600 acres were considered for development. Currently there is a 18 month backlog, meaning about 16 lots per day in pipeline, preventing the enforcement of numerous complaints. Recommends assign inspectors a caseload, to follow through a development from start to finish, they can then insure that everything is followed through correctly by the developers..

Closing statement: 2 minutes

Bennett: Large developers behind this opponent, have made this election extremely contentious. Glad when it is over, so will my wife.. Large landowners and large developers backing Baker, are trying to defeat me. Unlike developers, voters do care about their future, If charged with saving county millions of dollars, then guilty. If lobbying state legislature is a crime, then guilty. If wanting sustainable growth to be paid by developers, and not the taxpayers, then guilty. I am guilty of making Sussex County a place to prosper… The difference is whether we have a nice place to live, or a horrible place to live… You have a choice. Thank you.

Baker: Blah blah blah. I will close by reading you a statement. “The worse thing there is, is a career politician. Someone who puts them self above their constituents. We need someone who succeeds in business.” Ladies and Gentlemen, I am that man. I’m a new to the political process, and I am a successful business man. That writing? it was written by Bennett himself last August… you fool you just endorsed my candidacy….

End

(Just curious, is everyone down in Sussex County as juvenile and high strung as Baker?) What a sad closing.

If Jud Bennett is a conservative like a John McCain…. Mark Baker comes across as Dick Cheney….

Mark Baker does not deny it: he emphasizes that he will let developers do what they want in Sussex County, with no restrictions. No restrictions? Should someone want to see what Mark Baker’s vision will do to Sussex County, they should check out Harlem….. in thirty short years upper Manhattan went from farmlands to immigrant housing. Why? There was no regulation.

Why drive that far? Drive up and down Route 40 in New Castle County to get an idea of what Sussex County will look like a few years from now….There used to be 5 stoplights from the Maryland border to Dupont Highway… Now there is a yellow highway sign near the Route 7 interchange that says “WARNING, 5 STOPLIGHTS NEXT 1.6 MILES”

That is why Sussex County should reject Mark Baker. You can’t afford him.

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