Some of us old timers have been celebrating the second Tuesday of January for what seems like quite a few years… Each year we see signs that Open Government will come to our General Assembly. Last year was the greatest.. Complete with a living autographed open body, fluorescent green tee shirts, and Robert Venebles praying for the souls of those wanting to hold public officials accountable, surely with such a circus atmosphere just before election we would finally see results…..

It never left the drawer.

Fun and games won’t get it done.

What will?

You.

A public who demands that open government is passed; a public who dogs those royalists intent on keeping our hands away from our money, a public who exposes the lies and fallicies of their obfuscations…. WILL PREVAIL IN THE END.

We have to. At some future point they will need our vote.

OK, so that brings up this point which often made by the contractors of our current closed governmental system. If it is inevitable, why the hurry… Why put wrinkles in the current system which seems to work OK as it is now? After all, are their any major problems, serious catastrophies, widespread panics being caused by our current secret General Assembly?

Actually…. yes.

There is a $600,000,000 dollar shortfall; one of the reasons being the lack of open government in those areas that determine where we spend our money… The General Assembly.

In plain terms here is how it goes down.

A handful of legislators decide who gets what money. Those handful are sequestered in a chamber, away from the public’s eye, but freely visited every day by lobbyists for various interests. Many offer gifts. They have access, but someone wishing to get a safety device installed on school buses to protect our children, has to go through loops, tunnels, push bells and whistles, just to get enough points to be heard….

Open government is just a way to balance it out more… There are two ways to balance it out… One is to get rid of lobbyists entirely… then there is nobody in that chamber… The easier way is to open of those sessions so anyone can see what is going on… There is a reason shady deals are not done in the open… people will know about them.. So if we open those arrangements, we can hear when a lobbyist says he will provide tickets to the Netherlands to study wind farming.
And when they come back from that trip spouting only the corporate philosophy of that business that gave them the tickets…. we can say now wait a minute… You were “rickrolled“. What about the other argument?

In tight times there is nothing wrong with looking hard at ones budget…. Making hard choices is what we do… ie should we spend this little bit of money on our roads, or on our schools. Each makes the best argument in their favor, and then someone…. has to decide. That’s it. That is how it is done..

What is wrong, and why legislators such as Senator Thurman Adams, Senator Tony DeLuca, Senator Patty Blevins, and Senator Harris McDowell want open government to go away, is that without anyone looking over their shoulder, instead of going to a road or a school, that money now goes to a developer who has property he can’t unload for a profit to anyone except to the state….

And we hear: “the state has invested “so many” dollars to preserve open space containing so many acres so that future Delawareans can……..”

We don’t ever learn that a school was not built, a road was not repaired, 150 jobs were cut, just to make that sweetheart deal happen…

Here is real fact: choke on this.

In the development of the Wilmington Waterfront, those developers were given carte-blanche legal protection…

Accordingly, no legal or equitable action seeking damages for personal injury or death as a result of any operation, condition, service, or program related to the parcels that were the subject of these development agreements shall be permitted, maintained, or recovered against such entities

Delaware National (nee Hercules) Golf Course – Approximately 101 +/- acres adjacent to Hercules Road (SR 282) in New Castle County. The Department shall work with members of the surrounding community, plus state and local officials, to develop a master plan for the permanent protection – 57 – of the site as community recreation and open space, and upon satisfactory completion of such plans, may transfer the parcel to the appropriate owner(s) for a fee to be determined.

Or $4,000,000 to redo Garrison Lake Golf Course.

Bottom line is as we try to trim $600,000,000 from our state’s expenses, how much less would we be trimming if during the past 8 years we had not invested in various governmental officials pet projects?

Quite a lot.

As a result, our children will learn in shoddy schools, potholes will tear off our oil pans, our police forces and teachers numbers will be diminished….. all because someone was “hooked up” in an earlier closed session committee that decided where and how our public money will be spent…

As was emphatically said by our new Speaker of the House….” Damn it; its the public’s money!” then it stands to reason that the public be part of deciding how that money is spent…..

We did it with Bluewater Wind… Our duty as citizens of this state demand we do it again…

We are at a point where almost everyone in Delaware is in favor of Open Government.. It is an issue that crosses party lines…

Those few who do not, are all in the Senate. That is why we need to take our fight there. Within that chamber are the ones who need to band together to vote with at least 11 votes to do away with the desk drawer veto. From this group of twenty one, 11 need to agree that if any of their coalition is threatened or denied his right to bring his bill on the floor, because he dared to stand up to Adams on open government, that irregardless of party loyalty, the other ten will stand behind them and override Senator Adams and bring that bill on the floor of a vote.. It will need to be bipartisan, which is why it will need all of us to apply the political muscle….

As per our drill with Bluewater Wind, here are the numbers…..

Senate Democrats
Dover: 302-744-4165
Wilmington: 302-577-8542

Senate Republicans
Dover: 302-744-4134
Wilmington: 302-577-8517

And for good measure:

House Republicans
Receptionist: (302) 744-4171
FAX: Dover (302) 739-2773
Wilm. (302) 577-6396

House Democrats
Receptionist: (302) 744-4351
FAX: Dover (302) 739-2313

One might recommend printing up on ones computers business cards with just one number, explaining to ones friends and neighbors the importance of their call, and handing out the numbers enabling a greater number of Delaware’s citizens to become involved with controlling their own destiny.

After all that is why our ancestors fought the revolution. That is why they fought for Lincoln, to keep this nation together. That is why they beat back the Japanese and Germany during WWII, to ensure those freedoms remained at home… That is why Delawareans are in Iraq RIGHT NOW.

They are not there so some very important piece of legislation can get buried in someone’s desk drawer……

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