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Charter Schools.  This never happens in a public school.  Or in a school run by Democrats.  And what should really burn, is that those 330 students pulled out $1.2 million dollars from the surrounding public schools…

Call your legislator today.  Tell them to stop funding charters out of public school’s monies…  Give them a line item in the state budget.

In this case not only did the students in this Charter School suffer, but so did every other student who had money stolen away from their education….

(btw, the headline was Allan Loudell’s lead off line this afternoon, Good one!)

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Senate Bill 230 was passed on June 18th by the Senate.  It raises tipped employees wages incrementally over the next 4 years until it reaches 50% of the applicable minimum wage.

Most of you may not know but in Delaware, your tipped employee is living solely off your tips.  Often their pay checks say “Not a Check” for their balance is zero and their hourly earned income does not cover the minimum taxes deducted for their declared tips and hourly income….

It works like this…  Imagine you are a tipped employee; you are currently paid $2.23 dollars an hour.  Assume you work 5 hours and make  $40 dollars in tips.  Your overall average amounts to $ 8.00 dollars an hour, plus your $2.23 dollars in wages….  You are taxed on amount of the combined $10.23, which at a class “zero”  withholding rate is roughly around 30%, putting your tax amount at roughly $3.06 dollars of hourly taxes (includes all taxes)……. Whereas the check coming to you is only worth $2.23 dollars per hour, you are thereby placed at in the negative by at least – 0.83 cents in the hole…. By working for your employer you are losing some of the money tipped to you, because state law allows you to be paid too little to even cover the full amount of your taxes…..

You say: “Oh, no, that cannot be true? There are clauses that raise the minimum wage. We here about them every year….” But… the tipped wage credit for Delaware has not changed since 1987.

Charlie Copeland….Are you still making what you did in 1987? That is what you are asking these tipped employees to do…

The obvious argument against raising this minimal expense is that it will put restaurants out of business. Of course anyone can find someone greedy enough to leave his establishment for an afternoon and drive down to legislative hall and hobnob with legislators during cocktail hour and give the darkest picture he can, as to how he will have to fold his doors if he pays one more penny to a slovenly server….

So let’s look at how much it will truly cost them. If you take Joe’s Crab Shack on the Waterfront as an example, with sales ranging between 60 and 80 thousand per week over the summer, and when fully employed, employing around 30 persons out front as servers, on the average it uses close to 700 hours per week. (The average is 3 shifts per person)

The first year raises the rate $0.28 cents per hour… Per week at 700 hours, the hit to Joe’s Crab Shack will be an estimated….$196 dollars. Less than $200 dollars for one of the top 10 grossing restaurants in the state. That is less than one case of steaks or 3 cases of chicken breasts. So on the bottom line, the hit will be…..$196 dollars on $80,000…which turns out to be a loss of a whopping 0.245th’s of one percent. (To cover this “door-closing increase” the operator would have to raise its prices one penny,…. even then he would profit from 80% of every penny raised….) So in order to protect the slimmest of profit margins….. the same excuse used by Southern Plantation owners to justify the practice of slavery, the man who wants to become your next Lt. Governor, voted to keep tipped employees at levels considered the barest of minimums as far back as 1987…..

So what does this mean in today’s economy? Most servers have felt the cutback as many people who still dine out, have felt the necessity of dropping 4% or 5%, when the minimum acceptable level for good service still stands at 20%.

Of course that can change after the stock market crashes in October…and we all become employees of our Chinese owners, who flush with our cash, snap up all types of American companies at rock bottom prices…..

So is this tip credit of $2.23 like slavery? It’s uncomfortably close. And that is why Karen Peterson should be commended for bringing up this bill as we approach these uncertain economic times. The majority of the Senate should also be commended for passing it without further ado. On the other hand, those “other” Senators besides Charlie, who think tipped servers are corporate property, are included in the following: Amick, Bonini, Bunting, Clouther, Simpson, Stills, and Venebles. If these are your Senators, give them the shock of their life, and call asking them why they still support acts bordering upon corporate slavery…… $2.23 an hour since 1987? C’mon now.

Then, you have a responsibility too: to make sure that if your server gives you adequate service when you dine out…you tip them 20%. Yes it may hurt if you are naturally cheap…., but ask them….what is it like to work for free, or even worse, to have to pay their employer a surcharge or a tip share based on their sales when they get stiffed and earn nothing………just to work costs money out of their own pocket?….. Not to mention the gas it took to get there.

This bill is now in the House Labor Committee Its chairman, Terry Spence, a Republican in a heavily Democratic district, will need to move this onto the floor for an up or down vote this Monday,……if he hopes to have a whisper of a chance in this upcoming anti Republican election cycle……

So with a little dash of hyperbole…….slavery is not dead…. And Delaware’s Republican candidate for Lt. Governor…….avidly supports it…….

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

144th GENERAL ASSEMBLY

HOUSE Bill NO. 361

REQUIRING THE CONTROLLER GENERAL VOTE TO APPROVE THE POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENT BETWEEN BLUEWATER WIND AND DELMARVA POWER WITHOUT WAITING FOR CONFIRMATION FROM THE SENATE, NOR AWAITING A VOTE OF APPROVAL FROM THE MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.



WHEREAS, House Bill 6 of the 143rd General Assembly (the Electric Utility Retail Customer Supply Act of 2006), signed into law by the Governor on April 6, 2006, establishes a process for procuring a new energy source based in Delaware; and

WHEREAS, House Bill 6 set forth the criteria for selecting a new energy generating source, including the cost-effectiveness of the project in producing energy price stability, reduced environmental impact, the benefits of adopting new and emerging technology, siting feasibility and the terms and conditions concerning the sale of energy output from such facilities; and
WHEREAS, the Public Service Commission, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Energy Office and the Controller General were given authority under House Bill 6 to select a bidder; and
WHEREAS, the Request for Proposal issued under House Bill 6 established a competitive process in which three proposals for power were submitted, an IGCC coal power facility, a new natural gas facility and an offshore wind power facility, all of which were reviewed and evaluated; and
WHEREAS, on May 22, 2007, the Public Service Commission, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Energy Office and the Controller General directed that Delmarva Power enter into negotiations with Bluewater Wind to build an offshore wind power facility in Delaware, and to submit a term sheet outlining the major provisions of an agreement; and

WHEREAS, on November 20, 2007, the Public Service Commission, Office of Management and Budget, the Energy Office and the Office of the Controller General held a hearing on the Bluewater Wind term sheet and directed Delmarva Power and Bluewater Wind to submit a Power Purchase Agreement for consideration on December 18, 2007; and

WHEREAS, the negotiations that were held between November 20, 2007, and December 10, 2007, resulted in a more favorable agreement from the perspective of Delmarva residential ratepayers than was embodied in the term sheet; and

WHEREAS, the negotiations have produced a Power Purchase Agreement to build and operate in Delaware the nation’s first offshore wind power facility; and
WHEREAS, the Public Service Commission staff report finds that the Power Purchase Agreement meets the criteria established by House Bill 6, including price stability, reduced environmental impact, and the use of new technology; and
WHEREAS, operation of the proposed offshore wind farm would provide jobs for Delawareans and make Delaware a leader in a new industry at a time when manufacturing jobs are disappearing; and
WHEREAS, construction of the proposed offshore wind power facility would make a significant contribution to a reduction in greenhouse gas and toxic pollution emissions; and
WHEREAS, citizens of Delaware have offered thousands of comments and letters in favor of the proposed wind power facility; and
WHEREAS, the Public Service Commission, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Energy Office and the Controller General did not act on the Power Purchase Agreement because of the lack of a consensus among the four entities; and
WHEREAS, approval of the Power Purchase Agreement would endow Delmarva Power’s customers with protection against future price increases and price volatility due to the rising cost of electricity produced from fossil fuels and international political uncertainties.

WHEREAS, the Delawarean House of Representatives on April 11th approved in a non-partisan vote by a margin of 25 to 11, HCR38, which recommends that the Controller General add his signature, along side of the others, to the Power Purchase Agreement agreed to by both Delmarva and Bluewater Wind.

WHEREAS, all members of the House of Representatives currently serving have been elected within the past span of two years, and all who wishing to be re-elected, must face public scrutiny this election season, their vote can be deemed more representative of Delaware’s needs then those of the Senate, with two thirds of its members NOT up for re-election this term.

WHEREAS, House Bill 6 of the 143rd General Assembly (the Electric Utility Retail Customer Supply Act of 2006), signed into law by the Governor on April 6, 2006, gives the Controller General the authority to act independently of the Senate when making his decision, and does not require him to be beholden to one member, or a small group of member’s narrow interests.

WHEREAS, Delaware Code Title 29, Chapter 11, Subchapter 10, gives the Controller General the authority to perform any analyses necessary, to determine operational efficiency and effectiveness, compliance with the laws of Delaware and legislative intent; the Delaware House of Representatives has determined by a vote of 25-11 on April 11th, 2008, exactly how that legislative intent behind House Bill 06 of the 143rd Legislative Session, should be interpreted by the Controller General.

NOW THEREFORE:
BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the 144th General Assembly of the State of Delaware, that it is the binding resolution of the General Assembly that even without the Legislative Council’s approval, the Controller General shall vote to approve the Power Purchase Agreement between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power because, in the opinion of the majority of the General Assembly, the proposed wind power facility meets the criteria established by House Bill 6 of the 143rd General Assembly and is in the best interests of the citizens of this State;


SYNOPSIS

This Concurrent Resolution requires that the Controller General vote to approve the Power Purchase Agreement between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power because, in the opinion of the majority of the General Assembly, the proposed Power Purchase Agreement meets the criteria set forth in House Bill 6 of the 143rd General Assembly and is in the best interests of the citizens of this State. This Concurrent Resolution further requests that the Public Service Commission may at some later time, determine if the costs for the Bluewater Wind contract should be distributed among all Delmarva Power customers.

Because that……. is what we do.

I’m not going to talk about Dave. I am going to talk about myself and what I think.

There are few people out there who make a good candidate. Most candidates are shills whose campaign has been paid for by some interest or other. Once in, their primary responsibility is to represent those supporters.

During the campaigns they may speak of high minded principals; these are used to get your allegiance, so once in they can take care of those interests who showed them the money.

It is a symbiotic arrangement that is good for both the candidate and the investor, and sometimes, depending on the qualities of the candidate, it works well for those who are governed. And then again….. as we have seen recently, sometimes it does not.

The candidate’s support base could be anyone…Labor Unions, top ranked CEO’s, government workers, but whoever it is, once the candidate become elected, he may go his own way but he NEVER crosses those who put him there.

But occasionally rare in ones lifetime, a person steps out to run as his own man. He has ideas, and he sells them. If he is successful and enters the office, he then implements them.

People like that are hard to find. Biden did just that 35 years ago. It is time we find a new young person to do just that.

The field is growing daily. Spence, Lavelle, Burris are three names that come to mind. Spence is 7 years too late. He has held on the the speaker position longer than any other Delawarean, but as a candidate for governor, most non union people on the streets of our small towns will ask, who? It is unlikely that Spence wants to finish his illustrious record in the House, by being blamed for every Republican error that has happened anywhere in this country for the last 7 years. I doubt that Spence who is a great man, wants his legacy to be remembered as one of the lowest vote getting Republicans ever, over something he had no control over: the Iraqi War.

Spence’s counterpart, Lavelle, is even less known. Even before he runs, his stance on wind will kill any chance of him to be taken seriously. Although he has been around a while, he is still little known outside his district.

Ting, was damaged in the last election. His appeal as a vote getter, was tarnished by his insistence upon remaining a one issue candidate. And that issue was a “ho- hum” with the Delaware electorate last season.

Wharton, …..had an accident.

Wayne Smith, could be a highly effective spokesman for corporate Republican values. Quick on his feet, he could effectively duck and cover from the onslaught the progressives of the Democrat machine are sure to throw. But as an old soldier leading the fight within the trenches, he would need look over his shoulder lest word of his past political war crimes ever surface and become public……..

Copeland has the best name recognition and therefore the best shot. He too represents the party arm of the GOP. Although he could gain some notoriety on the street by mentioning his support for open government, he is extremely vulnerable because of his support for Delmarva. Mention that to prospective voters, and his support shrivels into the teens.

There is a Republican running who supports wind and open government besides Spence. He is still the pariah of Republican party leadership. Often dismissed by his party’s hacks, he has distinct name recognition among the average voter, and a solid platform of moderate values. Protack could do alright against anyone scrambling to maneuver out from under the Minner administration.

There is one other possibility. I mention him because if the line up on the D’s side goes south, even I could possibly vote for this guy, even though he swears allegiance to that political party which yet to fully understand tax policy.

But there is the better side of that candidate. There is this historical fact, that out of all of these candidates running, there was only one who could stay silent no longer, and despite admonishment from his own party leadership, he led the fight to remove one of his parties’ drunks from legislative hall.

Flat out, that is the type of leader Delaware needs: not someone who thinks it is his turn and all he has to do is show up on election day; not someone vain enough to consider his gubernatorial run to be the culmination of his life story; not some sacrificial lamb willing to bow down and take a personal hit for the party. Not someone whose negatives will make the word “Republican” synonymous with “joke.”

There is one Republican I know who thinks…. He thinks why we can’t have better schools. He thinks why we can’t have open and transparent government. He thinks why we can’t have less waste and spending. He thinks why we can’t have cheap and reliable source of energy. He thinks and that is what makes him different.

I will end with this observation. Were any of the other candidates from either side of the aisle to win, we would still have a continuation of the Minner administration’s way of doing things. After all, she came from the General Assembly herself. If one is familiar with only one way of doing things, one is automatically suspicious of everything new. Especially those candidates are beholden to someone who financially supports them and has no choice but do their bidding.

If Delaware is going to move forward quicker than our neighbors, then both parties need to field candidates of change. For if we have one candidate of change, and one promoting going backwards, we will change the medium between the two extremes, or as little as possible once the election is over. But if one party has to constantly scramble to outmaneuver the other which is bearing close on it heels, all citizens of this state benefit. Right now, Dave has support among all the opinion makers of this state. He earned that clout by being right on the issues, by addressing those of other persuasions to defend his views, and by doing what was right, no matter what the personal consequence may be.

Is he guaranteed to win? Who knows. But the GOP today stands for “Game Over Party”. Only something newly different from the losers who have lined up in the past, will reverse the Republicans shrinking base. Dave is a solid Republican with such a vision.

Only Dave seems to have the breadth of vision required to make the internal changes within the Republican party that could again resurrect Republican fortunes in this middle-of-the-road state. Daniello’s wrong. We are not a blue state because of our persuasion. We are blue because Republicans have fielded less viable candidates than their opposition. Mostly because party leadership is so out of touch with the electorate.

It’s time for voters to decide their candidates. They seem to have more common sense than the royalty that pervades the leadership of both parties.

He is responsible only to the Legislative Council. WTF is a Legislative Council? From the Delaware Code 1101:

There is created a Legislative Council which shall be composed of 10 members of the General Assembly as follows:

(1) From the Senate: The President Pro Tem, the Majority Leader, the Minority Leader, 1 member appointed by the President Pro Tem and 1 member appointed by the Minority Leader.

(2) From the House: The Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, the Minority Leader, 1 member appointed by the Speaker and 1 member appointed by the Minority Leader. (29 Del. C. 1953, § 1101; 55 Del. Laws, c. 322; 59 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 14.)

So WTF is a controller? Again from the Delaware Code 1110:

(a) The Council shall appoint a Controller General who, primarily, shall work with and assist the Joint Finance Committee of the General Assembly.

(b) The Controller General shall:

(1) At all times have full and complete access to all records of all agencies of the state government;

(2) Participate in any or all hearings held by the Joint Finance Committee of the General Assembly, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget or other state agencies in connection with contemplated general fund budget appropriations, capital improvement programs or supplementary appropriations;

(3) Request and obtain from any state agency all reasonable information and data as directed by the Joint Finance Committee to assist the General Assembly in the effective discharge of its state financial responsibilities; and

(4) Perform such duties as may be assigned or delegated to the Controller General by the Legislative Council.

(c) The Controller General has the authority to perform management and program reviews. Management and program reviews shall include, but are not limited to, any analyses necessary to determine operational efficiency and effectiveness, compliance with the laws of Delaware and legislative intent.

(d) The Council shall provide a secretary and such other aides as may be necessary to enable the Controller General to perform such functions.

(e) The Controller General, the secretary to the Controller General and such other aides as shall be employed to assist the Controller General shall receive such compensation, including salaries and other necessary expenses, as shall be determined by the Council, subject to the limitations imposed in the annual appropriation act. (29 Del. C. 1953, § 1110; 57 Del. Laws, c. 277; 62 Del. Laws, c. 277, § 18; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 88, § 21(13).)

The Controller General is a toady of the legislative council. Do as I say or you shall be paid 1 dollar this year is not beyond the council’s privilege. Therefore one can assume that those who killed the Bluewater Wind are those same few who killed the openness of the General Assembly act several years in a row.

This time they have dealt Delaware a 1.3 Billion a year stab in it economic heart….This time they cost us real money.

The Controller General is not responsible to the entire General Assembly. He is responsible only to the leadership, which as we all know, is far more concerned about its self preservation, than it is about the welfare of Delawareans…..

At least to the tune of 1.3 billion a year.

Therefore these people must go.

Thurman Adams

District 19 Bridgeville

Patty Blevins

District 07 Elsmere

Charlie Copeland

District 04 West Farms

Tony DeLuca

District 11 Varlano

Dick Cathcart

District 9 Middletown

Bob Gilligan

District 19 Sherwood Park

Helene Keeley

District 3 Wilmington South

Clifford “Bill” Lee

District 40 Laurel

Terry Spence

District 18 Stratford

No matter what defense these few may offer publicly, when all evidence is on the table, they cost everyone in Delaware real money. Actions speak louder than words.

If you know anyone in those districts you should encourage them to run. I am sure Babcock and Brown with assets of 55 Billion would be glad to assist in financing some of their campaign expenses……………..

So far one candidate has contested Terry Spence. Contribute to his campaign today. As far as you and the rest of Delaware are concerned, there is close to a 1.3 billion rate of return on your investment.