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Support for Common Core is fading.  In a survey of 5000 people, the results show a drop in acceptance from last year to this… 

  • Public support dropped from 65% to 53%.
  • Republican support dropped from 57% to 43%.
  • Democrat support stayed statistically the same.  64% to 63%. However of those with no opinion, 7% shifted over to against.
  • Teachers support fell from 76% to 46%….  All from 2013 to 2014……. 

Here is how the pollsters teased out the effect of the words “common core.” Half the respondents were asked the full question, below, including the phrases in brackets. The other half were asked the question without the bracketed text.

“As you may know, in the last few years states have been deciding whether or not to use [the common core, which are] standards for reading and math that are the same across the states. In the states that have these standards, they will be used to hold public schools accountable for their performance. Do you support or oppose the use of these [the common core] standards in your state?”

Sixty-eight percent of the respondents expressed support for the idea of nameless, shared math and reading standards, but only 53 percent did so when asked about “the common core” standards.

As the study shows, most adults (53 percent) are still in favor of common standards, but that support has declined in the past year. In last year’s poll by Education Next, 65 percent were in favor.

Obviously that distinction has to be asked of every proponent who issues results of a survey to back up Common Core….  Questions phrased with…”Are you for standards” score higher than those saying are you for “holding people accountable” to Common Core. After all, who isn’t for standards? While nearly everyone is against being judged by something you have no idea over.

Teachers were more supportive of the common core in 2013 than was the general public, but now that pattern has flipped, the poll found. That is due to their experience across this past year. Expect the public to do the same when the Smarter Balanced Assessments and PARCC tests show their “white suburban kids aren’t as smart as their moms think they are”….. 

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Although the year is barely out, we do have our first nomination for the spot to be announced in December 2013.  With the Kinder Morgan Deal now on hold semi-permanently, even they are pointing to our hero of the year as the man most responsible for allowing the port to remain state owned….

I can say it was Julius Cephas who was behind almost every move to combat the loss of good jobs at our port.  He is being pointed out as the villain by the capitalists at Kinder Morgan.  In Delaware’s eyes, that elevates his hero’s stature even more…

In truth, he is no villain and knowing him, he will probably shun the acclimations being made by us common folk as being our hero.  In his eyes, he was just doing what needed to be done because no one else was there at that very moment to do it, and as that task swelled, it took a lot out of him….

Capitalists always need a villian.  But it was the “truth” which actually is what killed this deal.  Kinder Morgan WAS going to cut back on jobs, and their change of heart and blaming Julius instead of others, points exactly to the core of their problem with our port… …

People in Texas, do not understand unions.  They simply can’t fathom or understand how there can be an actual law that lets people strike and shut you down, whenever you try to pay them less..  In their eyes, you work for what they want to give you and if it is too little, ..humph.  go elsewhere….

The second culprit (after the “truth”),  was our office of economic development.  We gave Kinder Morgan too many “eager” signals that set us up as being seen as an easy pick.  They truly thought they could waltz in, pick up a top notch East Coast Port for a song, and we would eagerly give it up…  Again, that was because everything was done in secret.  Had a meeting been forthcoming in the very beginning,  Kinder Morgan might have moved on earlier when it became readily apparent, that southern Texas practices do not bode well in the Northeast…

Of course, being a corporation, they will blame the whistle blower.  (Ironic since the whistle blower of Enron works for them)..   Of course.  It is not like they find anything immoral in taking a state asset for a song, in firing those skilled dock workers, and replace them with some Spanish speaking Texans who never even heard of a union….

And Julius did blow that whistle. .  Like Rose on the Titanic, he took the whistle off of Jack (pun intended), and blew softly at first, then harder, and harder.   Gradually the sound registered on others ears….

Without Julius, Bob Marshall would not have pushed through Senate Bill 3.  Without Julius, most of the links showing up in everyone’s blog, would have not been found.  Without Julius, the case for protecting workers would not have even made the rounds of the Norman Oliver show….

There were many helpers. Bob Marshall, Nancy Willing, Norman Oliver, Norinda, Helene Keeley, Al Mascitti, Liz Allen, John Kowalko, and (an other blogger too shy to be mentioned here). When one looks back through all of them one sees from everywhere, there in the center of the universe,  stands a normal human being just like us, known to most … as Julius.

There will come a time when a better deal will arrive.  Could even be this year. There will come a time when a suitor who does care about Delaware, who does care about unions, about human beings, about those businesses on the outside, and who will want to upgrade the port for everyone’s interest, not just their own… And that suitor in this day and age, could even come from abroad.  Germany is very committed to union labor, to the environment, to being a good neighbor…. There are a great many possibilities out there that are immeasurable…. We definitely dodged a Texas bullet with this one….

When that suitor arrives… Julius’s stature will be set in cement….  For he did nothing really Herculean, except argue the truth…  He didn’t lie.  He didn’t connive,  He didn’t threaten….

That was done by our office of economic development.  Instead and unlike them, Julius told the truth.  He told the truth to anyone who would listen.  He told the truth enough, so many “did” listen….

And that is why, he  deserves this nomination as Delaware’s Man of the Year.  I know it is early into 2013, but great things just do not wait!!….

You will hear smears that Julius tubed the deal… I saw the letter and it is already out on WDEL and the Delawareonline’s News Journal… But as an impartial blogger, I can tell you exactly what killed this deal.

It was “the truth”.  The truth of what this deal would cost us Delawareans….. is what turned the tide and caused the outcry that rose up against it….

If Kinder Morgan really wanted this deal, they could have easily said… “we are expanding and putting 5 new berths out into the river.  We are buying the port for the bargain price of $5 billion.   We need those businesses outside the fence because the jobs we get, will soon be too big, we can’t do it ourselves.  We will keep the union just as it is;  Wilmington needs good jobs and we are going to do our part….  We are also going to contribute into an emergency fund to be used for any spill or environmental accident that takes place under our tenure….

Kinder Morgan could have done any of those things, … and didn’t…. The blame doesn’t lie with Julius after all…. Especially when you consider the following…

This Economic Council erred on Fisker Automotive.  Then it erred on Bloom Energy.  Then it tried to Kinder Morgan us out of our port…..   Someone rushed in  with a save to make sure that last one didn’t happen.

That person is now hereby nominated for Delaware’s Person of the Year…….

Delaware's Port From Final Approach to NCC Airport
Courtesy of WDDE

Total employment — job counts have two major limitations: (1) they don’t necessarily reflect the quality of employment opportunities, and (2) they cannot be easily compared to the public costs of attracting those jobs (through subsidies, tax breaks or public investments).

Aggregate personal income measures the monetary  increases as pay levels rise and/or additional workers are hired. This works as long as nearly all of the affected workers live in the study area.  This guide is  a reasonable measure of the personal income benefit of a project or program.

Value Added Corresponds to the GDP.  It reflects the total sum of wage income and corporate profit generated within the study area. However, in today’s increasingly global economy, value added can be an over-estimate of the true income impact on a local area, insofar as it includes all business profit generated there — all of which gets paid out as dividends to owners of the business who do not reside in the study area, and that which is reinvested into corporate facilities that lie outside of the study area.

Business Output (also referred to as revenue or sales volume) is the broadest measure of economic activity, as it generates the largest numbers. It includes the full (gross) level of business revenue, which pays for costs of materials and costs of labor, as well as generating net business income (profits).  Much of that money bypasses the local economic area.

Property Values  can rise in a community as a result of a new business increasing the demand for property, which may be a direct consequence of increasing aggregate personal income or the re- investment of business profits. It is also important to note that when property values go up in one neighborhood but down in another neighborhood, there may be a sufficient redistribution of wealth but no net change in the overall level of local wealth or incomes.

The point of this illustration is to educate you for when Alan Levin says, this will bring $100 million into the port of Wilmington, you can ask,… how much of that goes into the community?  The answer, if Kinder Morgan moves in, will be just the amounts paid in wages for operations and for future construction.

Currently, because the operation is under the auspices of the state of Delaware,  all of the revenue impacts the state and local economy.  With the moving in of Kinder Morgan, property values will decline, thereby adding a negative economic drag to the possible boost the sale is predicted to provide.

A very similar comparison would be to compare Alan Levin’s Happy Harry’s to the current Walgreen’s today.

Walgreen’s put money into each unit.  Construction dollars flowed to those hard hit in construction trades.  Those working at higher wages with Happy Harry’s are no longer there.  They were replaced with cheaper labor.  The quality of product that abounded at Happy Harry’s has now been streamlined.  The cost of everything but pharmaceuticals has risen.  The pharmaceuticals because of Walgreen’s size, have themselves become cheaper.   The profits originally went to Alan Levin who lives here in Delaware.   Today,  profits are transferred out of state to the headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois.

So was the transfer of assets good for Delaware?   You can see the problem with trying to assess the change of the Port of Wilmington’s ownership.  It could be Alan’s enthusiasm is driven by the success of his former negotiation…

The prime issue is jobs versus wage rates.

Here is a quick illustration.

$300,000 =  10 jobs at $30,000.

$300,000 =  15 jobs at $20,000

$300,000 = 30 jobs at $10,000

$300.000=  40 jobs at minimum wage and 20 hours per week.

So when you have massive unemployment, being able to say you will create 40 new jobs creates a big political boost in your favor.  One can see why corporations hire as cheap as possible.  Isn’t it better to have a pool of 40 people who can work, and are hungry for work, than 10 who are less productive?

But the downside, is those 40 people can’t buy anything.  There is no money for anything but subsistence living.   The state and town’s resources get strained covering the additional costs such cheap labor requires, like medical care, like food stamps, like EIC, all which are a drain of resources being taken away from other sources….

Keep in mind, it is the same $300,000 by the corporation that is being paid out.  So from a town’s point of view, having 10 people fixing their houses, paying their taxes, hiring yard work and carpenters, buying cars, buying higher priced food, affording their own insurance,  donating money to charities, is better than 40 people costing it food stamps, sucking up Medicaid, bleeding out supplemental unemployment, SIS benefits,  forcing extra police coverage, necessitating  anti drug efforts, causing  higher crime patrols, etc.

By far, it is better for the city to have workers who contribute, instead of cost.

Which is why, the privatization of Wilmington’s Port, is not in the best interest of Wilmington and New Castle County,  unless the union can negotiate a prevailing wage floor, unless local workers get to do the construction and re-investment, and unless no decrease in neighboring property values is ever allowed to occur……

And … as we learned from Fisker, unless a special clause is inserted guaranteeing the State gets first in line to receive assets if Kinder Morgan goes bankrupt or walks away from Delaware and Wilmington should it ever decide the rate of return is not what they expected…..

Here is what the EPA says….

Kinder Morgan Transmix Co. has agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $600,000 to resolve numerous violations of federal air and hazardous waste regulations, including mixing hazardous waste with gasoline.

Keep in mind that any accident, even a tiny small one of a gallon or two, affects the entire Delaware Bay and its unique biodiverse shoreline.

Now Imagine a tanker taking a hole.

Outlined here are the violations Kinder Morgan got hit with…..

A. The illegal mixing of a RCRA hazardous waste with gasoline, and from failing to sample and test gasoline to ensure compliance with CAA emissions standards.

B. Kinder Morgan failed to comply with a number of sampling and testing requirements of the CAA and fuels regulations to ensure the environmental and quality standards of fuel they produced.

C. KMT failed to notify EPA or the State of Pennsylvania prior to storing the cyclohexane mixture, a hazardous waste, at its Indianola Transmix Facility.

D. KMT failed to perform or obtain a general waste analysis upon receiving its first shipment of the cyclohexane mixture as required

E. KMT accepted the hazardous waste cyclohexane mixture at its Indianola Transmix Facility without first obtaining a RCRA Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility Permit, and therefore violated the following federal and state hazardous waste requirement…

F. KMT produced gasoline at the Indianola Transmix Facility that was not “substantially similar” to any fuel utilized in the certification of any motor vehicle or engine sold in the United States,

G. KMT failed to collect and analyze representative samples of conventional gasoline that it produced at the Hartford Transmix Facility, in violation of the anti-dumping regulations…

H. KMT failed to collect and analyze representative samples of conventional gasoline that it produced at its Hartford Transmix Facility for the purpose of determining the sulfur content of these batches of gasoline..

Result of Kinder Morgan’s actions?

Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC (Marathon) reimbursed repair costs to owners of many vehicles that sustained damage. EPA understands that KMT reimbursed Marathon for the costs that it incurred in responding to these consumer complaints.

Obviously Kinder Morgan came up with the idea that they would rid themselves of an expensive waste product by burning it off in the cars that used its gas. It was cheap and untraceable. To accomplish this, they went dark on their self testing until the product had passed through their lines…. It would have worked, and they would have gotten away with their little scheme, except…. the fuel filters clogged with the waste product, and the traces began.

So, is this the epitome of ethics we want in Delaware? Of course ethics like this exists in Texas. That’s where they filmed Dallas. But do we need them here in Delaware?

No doubt, Alan Levin was not privy to this information. He is now.