You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘privatise Delaware’s Interstate 95’ category.

If you are like me traveling through this interchange is exciting since with every commute, and nightly lane closure, something new and different has been erected.

It has gotten hard with all the complexity, to visualize just where each bridge and ramp will lead…

Hope this helps… It does make one proud of Delaware, … “where roads get thought out first…..”

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Port of Wilmington Is In Need of Some Investment
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Is the economic model being used to evaluate the impact of privatizing the Port of Wilmington, the exact same one used to determine the economic benefit from both Fisker and Bloom Energy?

Delawarean’s probably ought to know.

If yes, might it be possible that here could be some flaws inside that formula?

In 2005, the Delaware Department of Correction signed a contract with the company Correctional Medical Services (CMS) to provide medical services to inmates in state prisons. The promise of cost savings quickly evaporated, and the state was left with low quality healthcare for inmates. Inmate health deteriorated under the new contractor and several deaths resulted from lack of adequate medical care. The contractor’s performance has forced the state to spend extra time and money associated with litigation arising from the substandard care.

Today the Port of Wilmington faces the same fate… as it is about to be privatized by a large oil/gas conglomerate: Kinder Morgan

LET US BRIEFLY REVIEW THE MYTHS REGARDING PRIVATIZATION.

Myth #1: Privatization saves money.
The Truth: Privatization often raises costs for the public and governments.

Myth #2: Private companies do a better job than the public sector.
The Truth: Many examples show declines in service quality under private contractors.

Myth #3: Privatization allows governmental entities to better anticipate and control budgetary costs.
The Truth: Cost estimates are extremely unreliable and privatization can cause result in unforeseen budgetary consequences.

Myth #4: Privatization allows governmental entities more administrative flexibility.
The Truth: Privatization requires substantial administrative resources for monitoring and oversight.

Myth #5: The public still maintains control over a privatized asset or service and the government retains the ultimate ability to make related public policy decisions.
The Truth: Privatization can bind the hands of policymakers for years, allowing private companies significant control of a privatized asset or service and the ability to dictate important policy decisions.

Myth #6: If anything goes wrong, the government can easily fire the contractor or adjust the contract.
The Truth: Reversing privatization involves huge costs and service interruptions.

Myth #7: Companies are chosen for privatization contracts on the merits, not based on political or financial connections.
The Truth: Government for profit opens doors to unscrupulous behavior by politicians and businesses.

These were compiled by the group In the Public Interest and if you wish further information or explanation, I would suggest a deeper reading here.

The one truth coming out of all privatization plans, is that privatization winds up costing taxpayers more, as well as disrupt the services we need to survive.

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.

Business Is Up At Wilmington's Port
Courtesy of Maersk Lines

To privatize or not privatize Wilmington’s own ocean-going port; that is the question now up for debate. Talks begin next week.

One the port loses money; turning it over saves money the very year it gets dumped.

Two, privatizing the port, will cost union jobs and their pension fund, dearly. There is no way any company will not want to “own” that pension fund.

Three, as a private business, the port must be taxed, earning revenue for the city.

Four, safety, upgrades, competitiveness with other ports, all take back seat to revenues acquired per quarter.

Five, the city will have another major business knocking its doors down asking for new major concessions.

Bottom line, is whether the city wants to sell out those working, taking the financial hit that will cost it, or to pay the extra each year to keep the port running….

In this day and age, it appears selling out the people, carries far greater risk and impacts the area with a greater negative, than simply paying for the shortfalls year after year.

Let’s us remind ourselves what actually “is” privatization….

In privatization schemes to outsource traditional governmental functions, taxpayer dollars are diverted from the building of public assets and institutions to create long-term revenue streams for corporations. Privatization has resulted in the loss of public sector jobs that have been crucial to the growth of the middle class, and instead has created a system that favors lower wage jobs and new profit centers for CEOs and investors.

Here is how privatization works. I buy a field next to your house. I live in a tent. I watch your house while you are away on vacations. You’ve paid off the house, and now, having retired, you live in Florida, and the house taxes are backing up here in Delaware. You sign the deed over to me, so you don’t pay taxes anymore….

I just stole your property. All that money you put into it, was essentially, wasted. Your assets, drop by $500,000. Mine jump $500,000. You could have put the house on the market… That is what most people do… But no. You just gave it away. Thank you, btw.

That is privatization. Giving something free to corporations, a handout, that they only get, because they just happened by at the right moment…. Here you go, bud… have $45 million dollars… Run a business! Welcome to corporate America.

That is privatization. Of course, it is framed these three ways: …. “let me take that off your hands…;” “I could take care of that awful problem for you;”…. ” You, know, I could make that “problem” go away..”.

And in the heat of the moment, that investment that years of hardworking people have put into, gets whisked away…. So of course privatization is going to be sold hard. Who wouldn’t want a free $50 million dollars?

Bottom line, there are some entities in public society that are there for the common good. The public funds them… Take roads for example. If Delaware privatizes 95 into to Wilmington, every commuter pays an extra $2 a day to make the trip. Every commuter pays $2 X 5 X 50 on the average, or $500 a year. At roughly 60,000 commuters a day, $30,000,000 is sucked from all other businesses in New Castle County per year, and given to the new owner of interstate 95…. Primarily to prevent that, was why a long time ago public funding and ownership, was deemed to the better approach. Furthermore, repairs and potholes, suddenly get low priority status; skimming off the top becomes number one…..

The choice of privatization boils down to the following…. Which is better? A choice of higher business activity, or a choice of keeping the wages of those working now?

This can best be seen in Greece. The Greeks farmed one half of this port, the container side, over to a Chinese company. They kept the lucrative part, the cruise ship side, for themselves. What has happened is that business on the Chinese side as doubled. It is becoming one of the busiest ports in the world. The Greek half is languishing. Lacking the money to invest, their side has, by not going forward, fallen backward.

The Chinese have invested in new ideas and new technology. But, being Chinese, one can rightly expect they don’t invest in human capital.

On the Greek side, some worker’s salary and benefits amount to $181,000 a year. Obviously a full work force paid that much would soon force closure of the port. The Chinese pay $23,000…. and have no job security plan. They also do not abide by Greece’s union regulations and safety requirements. Currently they have no trouble filling workers when they need them. (Greece is in the imploding stages)…

And there you have it. One simply has to plug in whether the lease amount and tax revenue from a thriving port on top of the diminished payroll purchasing power of all its ex-employees, is greater or less than…. the diminished tax revenue from a mediocre port, on top of the purchasing power all it’s unionized employees possess…..

It appears that the one best option, is to have Government upgrade the port, meanwhile keeping government ownership, thereby keeping its workers employed and their money flowing through their economy… That option maximizes the most money flowing out of the port, and into the city.

The problem for unions is, that as long as wages are consistently high across the Seaboard, then that is the price of doing business in America’s ports. But let one port hire 7/8th less per worker, then in all other ports to remain competitive, all workers will soon also have to be working at that level. 7/8ths less of economic clout per worker, needs to be quantified in dollars, before knowing the full economic benefit.

There is one more thing. If the business running the port loses money, even one dollar; they can just shut the port down and walk away…. Then there are no winners.

It should be good news… more people are working than expected.

How great is that?

“Well, we were expecting this many people to have gained jobs, but… no, instead we got much more than we expected!….”

One would think the stock market would bounce on the good news!

Actually, 154,000 jobs were created in the private sector. This offsets the 37,000 Federal government jobs cut July by the Republican’s actions……

154,000 jobs? Under a Democrat president? What’s going on here?

Obviously the stimulus is working. Obama was right to deficit spend to keep up demand for services….

And I bet you’re enjoying your commute on all those newly paved roads too, aren’t you?

Now contrast this with a Republican regime… Potholes galore because they cut taxes. Pot holes galore because the wealthiest top 1% was allowed to keep $1.2 trillion that normally flowed into much needed services…

Can’t you see what’s happening? Obama showed us the way…. WE NEED SPENDING ON INFRASTUCTURE. WE NEED SPENDING TO MAKE AMERICA A MORE LIVABLE COMMUNITY……

Because of Republican legislation, to get to that level of spending, we had to borrow… but doesn’t it make a lot more sense to tax the top 1% that 1.2 trillion, and have this quality of life, without the deficit?

Imagine…. you need some bread… So, you hop in your car, turn on the ignition, back out into your street, and almost hit someone. You get out and see a long line of cars in your normally empty street…. After about an hour, you come to the end of the road in your development, where it empties onto the highway….

Flashing lights. Oh, no, you think… a terrible accident. There at the head of your development stands a policeman holding up traffic. You crane your head out the side window, looking for the accident… You want to know if you can avoid it by going the opposite direction… It must be out of your view, you decide… You can see no activity. And ….. to your surprise, trucks are speeding up and down the highway… They usually don’t go that fast, the occasional ones who venture there, but today there are a lot of them, and they are flying…

The policeman seems to have gotten word on his headsets, and he motions five more cars forward, including yours.. You are on a wide open road and you go straight to the store, now 2 hours behind…. As you pull into the store, you notice a policeman there too, standing on the corner, letting traffic out to go back to where they came….

You notice that if there are trucks on the road, you get held back… Only when there are none, do cars get allowed upon the highway… That’s not fair you think..

So you ask the store clerk, who seems tired of answering the same question…. He tells you…

“Congressional Republicans passed a law that disbands highway neutrality.

“Highway Neutrality? you say…”WTF is that”……

He says, “Well, the roads used to be neutral… that means anyone could use them to go anywhere they wanted. They were just there; you could just drive on them… But the Republicans said that since trucks pay more in taxes, a lot more, the roads were for them… They have first priority.. If they aren’t using the road, then they’ll let cars on them. It’s kinda nice; for the first time here in the city, I actually got my delivery on time. But my sales are about 20% of what they usually are on a Sunday…. Guess people are stayin’ put and don’t want to deal with it…

You say, “:Let me get this right… Because trucks are bigger, they get priority over cars?”

“Yeh, but for a lot of money you can upgrade to truck status, and ride with them…” the clerk volunteers. I think it’s $50 a month…. If you want to go for free, you have to wait for the gate keepers to let you on….

You say. ” but that’s extortion! Since man has been around,… the highways were always free, unless they were a toll road… How can they suddenly take what’s always been free, and start charging an arm and a leg for it?

He says… “People voted Republican… That’s all I can say… I guess the truck lobby sort of owns Republicans… at least they contribute money to their campaign, and to pay them back, we now have lost our highway neutrality… and if you want to go somewhere quickly, you have to pay, and pay, and pay, and pay, and………..

By now you’re boiling mad… You get a lot of groceries because you know, you are not going on the highway for a long while…. It takes you two hours to go one mile…..

While all eyes were on the budget bill and threats of government shutdown, the Republicans two days ago ( 4/8/11) found time to remove neutrality from the internet. Yep, the House voted on a terse statement that says the FCC must rescind their net neutrality policy immediately.. … Once this is done, preference will be given to the large providers, and small ones like all of us, will have to await our turn.

Unless we pay for the upgrade….

This was just an political exercise. It won’t pass the Senate and Obama will veto if it were to ever make it that far… But the vote was unsurprisingly, along party lines. The usual 6 Democrats crossed over to the Republican side, and two Republicans joined the Democrats on this issue…

So though this won’t pass, it is reminder that if Republicans win in 2012, this will be the future of the internet…

And I don’t know about you, but the internet has become more of a basic right to me than my free speech…. We have a right to free, unrestricted internet. This is a people’s right, not a decision to be left to business…

We need people in Congress who support people instead of big business….

After tremendous backups up and down Interstate 95 at the Delaware border, Delaware took the courageous step to waive the $4 toll and allow cars to pass unimpeded.

Construction Jams up Tolls
Courtesy of Delaware’s finest News Station.

On the most heavily traveled day of the year, when over 100,000 cars are expected to pass.though that sector, waiving that money for the ease of each motorist, is worthy of a commendation.

Someone put people’s sanity and welfare, over money.

it is a courageous act and should be held in high esteem. Should any Republican politician lampoon that decision, you can trust they will soon exactly learn who, and who not to lampoon.

It is often that a politician takes on a campaign issue, wraps it around himself, aka Mitt Romney, and then tries to ride the issue’s coattails into office.

It is rare to find a man or women, who seems not to give a damn about what people think of him, but trusts that his effectiveness in improving the lives of this constituents, will keep him/her continuously in their good esteem, aka Teddy Roosevelt.

I think Delaware has one. Two if you count Biden, although he is a national player now…..

Perhaps no one has marched on Delaware’s public scene and done so much good for Delawareans, since we pursued and passed the Coastal Act, as has been done this year in putting constraints on the Colonial Potters of the Insurance industry, under the strong leadership of Matt Denn.

The growing malaise of maddening rate increases, has finally reached the high tide mark, and has begun receding.

Recently a letter was received by the Public Service Commission. Here is an excerpt:

I have seen a copy of the letter you received yesterday from Bluewater Wind. I understand from that letter that an issue has arisen with respect to Delmarva Power’s willingness to disclose the formula that it will use to calculate the ultimate cost to Delmarva ratepayers of a wind park off the Delaware coast.

He continues with this:

Under any circumstances, I would encourage you to require Delmarva to disclose this information. The cost to ratepayers of this proposed wind park is a critical factor that you must consider in carrying out your statutory duties, and the public has a right to examine how that cost
is being calculated.

This letter was received the same day that Delmarva’s term letter was to land on the Public Service Commission’s desk. In what adequately expresses the frustration and fear of all Delawareans, he sums up with this…..

Delmarva has made clear from the beginning of this process
that it is considering wind power only because it has been ordered to do so. The state should not blindly rely upon the company that is the chief opponent of the Bluewater Wind project to calculate that project’s cost.

In this regard he is on target. It proves once again that great minds are all alike.

Health care is my highest priority as Insurance Commissioner and I believe the proposal of a wind farm
offers substantial health benefits for current and future Delawareans…..The upfront and stated cost of any method of power generation that includes discharges into the
water and/or air does not include the monetary impact of that source on people’s health and our state’s environment. As I indicated to you in a letter last spring, it is common sense that a primary power generation source with virtually no emissions will be better for the health and
environment of Delawareans than ones that emit tons of pollutants, and it will no doubt be cheaper in those respects as well. I urge you to take these very real costs into account in your deliberations.


Sincerely,
Matthew Denn Insurance Commissioner

It is clear who stands up for the rights of Delawareans. A quick glance around the mega celebrities already in campaign mode, shows little concern for this wind farm deal, which is the third most important event affecting this state in 100 years…….

It is clear there is one person looking our for OUR interests.

Thanks for being who you are………

The Newest Ceasar Rodney

WTF?photo by SUCHAT PEDERSON, News Journal