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So why even vote?

For one, the county is what controls most of our lives, if you live outside any of the smaller city limits…

Two, you pay them enough in taxes (included in your escrows if paying-off a mortgage). or a painful separate check if the asset is fully yours.

Three. They establish and run almost all the things that impact your daily lives… When it comes down to “gee, how well do we like this place in which we live”, the country has probably 60%, the state 30%, and the Federal government 10% of that decision…

If you don’t believe me simply try living without a sewer for one year… You get tired digging holes in your back yard.  But also add the perks that sprout up, those festivals in our county parks, that farm next door that never was developed into a section 8 housing unit, the police who not only protect us, but let our kids pet their Clydesdales, and you sort of get a general idea of how important our County actually is to us….

So what happens, when county government stops working?  You get everybody fighting for themselves… sort of like New Jersey.  You get no planning. You get results where anything goes. You get increased crime because either one can buy off cops who have no one watching over them, or because they were strictured through lack of funding. You get no perks, unless you want to pay a private citizen your out-of-pocket money to get them… And all the stuff you do have now, starts falling through the cracks out of neglect….

Bottom line: it is very important to have someone running the county who can do it well…

Which thrusts us sometimes into this bizarre choice.  Is it better to have a person more concerned with morals and appearances who always seems to be deep in a moral struggle just to do their basic job?… Or is it better to be stuck with someone always having the whiff of corruption seeming to surround them, but who makes your own personal life SO MUCH BETTER and easier by his abilities and skill to get things done before you even get to worry about them…..?

This bizarre choice is what New Castle County faces this primary season when choosing its Executive. ….. …. …. Your vote will simply depend on which of the above traits YOU think is more important, either it being sanctimonious, or being successful; which YOU prefer to see embedded in your leader….

Delaware Liberal just came out in support of Matt Meyer.  Interestingly that same writer penning that article was also a fervent supporter of Hillary,  even to the point of being quite vicious towards Bernie who was performing a service like Matt, challenging the current leader on their principles, especially when it came to the appearance of impropriety over their past choices between ones constituents and ones cronies and corporate friends.. If we remember correctly, the writer’s response to such criticism boiled down to:  she’s effective, she gets things done, her enemies naturally try to discredit her and having no substance, must use whisper campaigns and false accusations.

It is ironical that this one writer was all Hillary in the national, and is now all Matt in the local because in this race, Tom is the candidate being pilloried more like Hillary, the seasoned politician, whereas Matt as the new interloper gets a “buy” on using morality to launch a challenge…

Because like Hillary, Tom Gorden has had an amazing career.  Granted some is timing. But also granted is that he is feared by this state’s developers, ever since he shocked them with a moratorium on all new development..  He implemented that necessary action which had been a political albatross, so much so that none of his predecessors had been willing to touch it before he arrived.  Whereas you may not agree with the copious amounts of development you have seen being dug lately; the control over what has actually been approved for development, was far more consistent with the opinions of those living in those local neighborhoods during the split terms of Gordon, than what occurred during the interims of those holding the office during the split… Can you say: Barley Mills Plaza?

In what matters to our longterm happiness, Tom Gordon has done a better job.  In that way, he is our Hillary, the workhorse who simply because he chooses to support the majority will of the people over the peculating wills of the elite, has special interests spend inordinate time digging for dirt and constantly slandering him , even haul him in as a criminal.  Yet when actually investigated (Hillary 13 times, Tom 1) , though there may be some impropriety brought to light (on both Hillary and Tom) it is innocent shadiness; nothing near what the accusers tried to paint… In fact, if you notice the shaming in the Delaware Liberal article, the problem they try to paint on Tom is that he was “accused”; little mention that a judge who “actually” saw the “evidence offered”, said it was political bullshit and dropped the case.  There really is no difference here between those “accusing” Hillary, indicting her in public because she was called in to account 13 times… (for no one gets called up 13 times unless they are an actual criminal, right) and those indicting Tom Gordon because of “similar” accusations.  Yet in each of those times, the evidence overwhelmingly showed not only was there no actual wrongdoing, but we glimpsed how great she was at running things.  The real evidence that comes out of each of her “hauling in’s”, is that she is an awesome human being… probably the best we’ll see in our lifetimes… And the same can be said about Tom.

At some point, one has to shut down the accusers… “You have no evidence”.

Matt has a nice resume full of “progressiveness” but is seems short on the executive skills needed to run a metropolitan county.  There is no endorsement by others in his “creds” showing he has experience in leading huge numbers of people, often including among that number, those who are trying to see you fail. In his resume I didn’t see any past acclamations which told us how good he was with dealing over conflict.  How strong will he stand up to the selfish interests of County Council? Whereas his resume tells us what kind of a person he is, it doesn’t tell us what kind of an Executive he will be. So instead of starting a stock exchange, will he insist on using that money to send Payless shoes to Africa?  Point made.

And since Delaware Liberal made a big deal on ethics, one should wisely point out that Matt Meyer’s hit piece last sent out in the mail, uses the same kind of ethics both he and Delaware Liberal try to pretend he is above…

His photo has a bright picture with school kids; Tom’s is grainy yellow darkened to show all the weathered lines on his face… Is that on the up and up?  Playing with what you are given, putting out something that is Foxnewsworthy?

Highlighting “Pleading guilty to two criminal charges” without mentioning they were minor misdemeanors, the felonious charges were dropped because they were politically crafted. Is that completely honest?  Most of us plead guilty to criminal charges every time we mail in a check for a speeding ticket.

“He was elected in 1996. Since then, many of our largest corporations have downsized or left the state: GM, Chrysler, MBNA, Avon, Astra Zeneca and Dupont?” Oh, you went there? Lets refresh the record on those companies.  Both GM and Chrysler were bailed out by the Feds.  Did Gordon have anything to do with that?  MBNA was bought out by Bank or America… Did Gordon have anything to do with that?  Avon consolidated elsewhere due to a huge national sales drop, could Gordon have bought all its makeup and applied it to his grainy yellow weathered face (see above) just to keep them in business? Astra Zeneca, again bought out. Dupont split for liability reasons…  None of these are Gordon’s Fault. So what is Matt trying to accomplish by making it look so? Make himself look immature and amateurish?  In fact, it was Chris Coons and Paul Clark who were in the office when most of those took place…right?

So is Matt Meyer being fair here?  In all truth, this was written probably by his hired consultant, who tells everyone “I’m his consultant; I’m running his campaign” but in reality just creates and mails those things you get in your mailbox, and Matt Meyer’s consultant’s literature is no different from Tony Deluca’s, Tom Sharp’s, or those creeps’ who attack John Kowalko every two years.

Bottom line, Tom had nothing to do with those business switches and losses.  and starting in 1996 covers a lot of time, 20 years. Twenty years that between being up or down, things have been pretty good in New Castle County compared to anywhere else near or far.

Matt’s flyer says we gave him a second chance and got more crime and decreased job opportunities.   Has crime increased?  There is less in my neighborhood than was during Paul Clarks’s span, so naturally I had to look it up to see….

New Castle Co Crime DropsNew Castle Co Crime Drops

(Just in case some of Matt’s supporters can’t see too well)………..

Perhaps they mistakenly add Wilmington to the mix but really, is that fair to add Wilmington to New Castle County when the current executive has no police-fire-or ambulance jurisdiction within Wilmington’s city limits?

Within the county, crime has dropped 16.4% since we gave Gordon a second term.. I’ve seen its results with my own eyes….

There also was much ballyhoo made in Delaware Liberal’s comments about the drop in reserves… In your own personal life, if a tree falls in your back yard and you have money in savings to cover its removal, … do you keep that money in savings, and leave the tree to rot?

That is what those who bring up this ridiculous charge are advocating…  we had needs, we had reserves, we used them…

They say” OH NO!  YOU USED THE RESERVES! YOU ARE AN INCOMPETENT IDIOT “. Collectively the entire populace of New Castle County should respond in kind by giving the only person we have ever had who has actually increase our reserves, another opportunity to do it again… In that quiet way, we will all have the last laugh and say….”no, it looks like you are the idiot….”

 

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I hope you see this… I wanted to document a list of the damage the Pam Scott regime had done to New Castle County, such as destroying historical buildings, brushing aside traffic studies, mitigating necessary environmental policies, .. In general, everything they did that deteriorates the quality of life for people in New Castle County for years to come..

Then I realized it really should  come from you… You have the archives in Delaware Way; you know how your archives are organized, and you with a quick email sent “To All” could rapidly receive a plethora of details your contacts had lived through and fought against…

I know it will be a labor of love, and may take some time… But I think the world should know how this erosion of resident’s rights for the accumulation of money for a few, was done.  I figure it would probably take one day to go thought your archives, cutting and pasting links to all the articles on one page…

Often local struggles are rarely documented.  However they touch our lives far more than state or national issues.  It would be nice to have the truth out first for once…  all organized in one volume.

I really feel it should come from you. 🙂

In today’s News Journal there is notice that Pam Scott had influence upon the letter announcing the compromise Chris Coons and Stoltz Reality worked out regarding the Barley Mill Plaza.

I just want to point out that this is not odd.  I do it all the time.  When an agreement is going to be made public, it is common practice to have the attorney’s on both sides trouble shoot it, play devil’s advocate, fling it against the wall to see if anything loose will fall out.

There is nothing more embarrassing than rolling out a plan whose flaw is immediately picked out by the public, and the whole plan has to then be rolled up and fixed.

This is why we send drafts back and forth to each other and ask for their approval, and if they choose to make changes they send it back to us for our approval.

This is a standard protocol in business and is nothing shady at all.   Trying to make it into something sinister and heinous won’t stand.  It is what we all do.  It is how things work.

Just sayin’.

Contorversy Across the Fields of Barley
Photo Courtesy of www.oldwilmington.net

It is a question of degree.. Who has the more authority within the current moment. A brand new administrator elected by the choice of the people over his predecessor, or…. a plan put in place and carried out by a previous administration.

Bottom line. There are no rules here. Depending on which side you seem to be on… will affect your outlook. The decision is both right and wrong for either side, depending upon which criteria one will use to decide.

Examine the first.

An Administrator is elected. He comes in and takes over his office. One of the planks he ran on was to reverse a certain act of his predecessor. When the people had a choice of electing a person who was for the proposal in question, and one who was against it, they overwhelmingly went for the one who was against it….

Now the second.

An Administrator inherits a problem from his predecessor. He applies considerable effort to get a deal made and moved forward. It goes through all proper channels. It is legalized by a vote on Council. It is the Council and thereby the County’s official policy. A schedule has been drawn up. Funding approved. It is in effect, in the middle of being completed…. Since it was set in stone before the new administrator comes in, he has no right to interfere…..

Can a chief executive overrule a previous Council’s decision? Well. Romney certainly was going to with Obamacare.
Congress had passed it, the Supreme Court had legitimized it, and Romney was going to make it obsolete with the stroke of a pen, based solely on the argument that it was the wish of a mandate of the voters putting him into office.

If it would work for the president, it must also be effective and allowed, under the new New Castle County Chief Executive.

It therefore, is not only legal, but ethical, contrary to the opinion of one certain Danberg who resigned in protest as county attorney on Wednesday.

A leadership role demands that a leader leads. For a leader to have to swallow every poisoned pill his predecessor were to leave him, puts not only him, but his department and the province he oversees…. at risk. That would be harmful to all society, if something was locked in stone by every outgoing administration…. Were that the true will of the people of New Castle County, to have Barley Mill Plaza go forward, then Paul Clark would now be the executive, not Tom Gordan…

Either way the decision goes, someone gets hurt. If the decision is to go forward, then those residents around that area who are the victims of a fabricated traffic study, are doomed to suffer. If the decision is to be stayed, and reworked pending a new traffic study, then those who have invested into the plan, are the ones doomed to suffer.

So someone has to get hurt! The question is …. who?

HERE COMES DA JUDGE!……

Due to the lack of Republican challengers, the next four years are coming into view.  There are bigger things at stake, and those suffering losses need not be too hard on themselves.

It would be safe to say that we have two opposing forces in this county.  One is labor, and the other is developers.  And to this, I’ll add a third, community organizations.

To understand the election, you have to understand the history.   When Tom Gordon first ran, the communities were up in arms over haphazard development with no control.   In 1974 vast swatches of the county, then all farmland, had been zoned into various categories.  As development moved outwards from Wilmington,  issues began to develop.  Gordon upon coming into office, put a moratorium on development.  None for 6 months.

That is when the UDC became formulated.  Through Community organizations who were allowed to be part of the planning, a system was developed that  had already been subsequently approved by those whose backyards would be affected….  During this time frame community associations were big.  Even state legislators made it a point to attend.  Labor made it a point to attend.  Sometimes if the project was big, even a US Congressman or Senator might attend.

The point was, that the community was involved.  And compared to earlier, it was cheaper for developers, who did not have to worry about making arbitrary adjustments during the construction process simply because of pressure from the community put on elected official, who then demanded costly requests to those investing the money and building projects.

That was early in Gordon’s term.  Then came the paranoia.  Was someone a plant?  Was someone working for someone else, and sabotaging from the inside all the good work being done.  A police state mentality descended upon  county employees.  If someone challenged Gordon,  instead of saying whatever, give it your best shot, maybe that’s the way it is going to work out better,  the tone became how dare you challenge me.  Once that tone gets taken it has to be supported by actions.  The legal troubles ensued because county money was used to this purpose.  Intimidation.   Company employees sent to spy; all sorts of cloak and dagger tactics.

It was time for new leadership.  The Unions were out, and the business model came in.  Under Coons the model was to bring in business. But gradually the cash cow of transfer taxes began to trickle.  Paul Clark continued the business model during the tightness of the past 4 years.  Balancing the budget on lean earnings meant some people had to go.  It meant some positions could not be filled.  It meant new equipment needed by police and firemen, could not be purchased.  On a positive note, it meant balanced budgets, and a AAA bond rating, which holds costs down during times of future borrowing.

Because of the shift to business, it meant that community organizations were a hindrance.   Bloggers who were worried about the destruction of an old cow shed,  calling it historical,  were holding development costing millions of dollars.  Paul Clark though his wife, streamlined the process required for moving projects forward.  Like everything, there are negatives and positives.  As these moved forward, the negatives were washed over and the positives extolled.   In hindsight, when money and jobs were in short supply, this streamlined process probably did allow a few worker’s houses to remain in their position.  Had they waited or scrapped the projects, those workers would be out of work and bankrupt.

So hindsight is clearer than foresight.  Had we had a labor executive, or a community supporter during this Republican caused Recession, we may have been worse off.

Now, Tom Gordon is back in.  We have the ascendency of the Unions, but the community associations have dried up and blown away.  Deemed vestigal organs by the past two administrations, they withered on the vine and are hard pressed to find ones still actively involved in planning and development.

But Tom has his own challenges.  Personal challenges.  There are two types of people and everyone ranges somewhere between them.  You have “good” people and “bad” people…   If a “bad” person gets re-elected, he goes, “ha,ha… suckers…. This time I’m taking everything that is not nailed down.”  If a “good” person gets re-elected,  he goes “… wow, i got another chance to make things right; I can’t eff it up this time; I got to be careful.”  Which of these is Tom, depends upon who you talk to right now.  It is still close to the election.  However, knowing what I know, if  it were me, I would do the latter.   I would know that I would be rated by my last term; memories are short. Whatever I do in my last term will erase what happened in the first.   I will end well liked.

Tom lost his mind on Freeberry.  He has not talked to her in 5 years.  I can understand how in that type of relationship, if one hears the admonition of that one is not tough enough, one could believe it, and crack down harder to be feared….

We are at a new crossroads now.  Here is what needs to happen.  We need the skills that Tom once had, without the baggage…. Anyone can make guesses at what motivates other people and I am no exception.  It appears that the early Tom was insecure.   Afraid of losing everything he had built up, he doubled down on everyone under him.  If someone dare oppose him on council, the found a challenger and worked with that challenger to defeat  that person who opposed him.

A secure person would have gone to that person’s district, checked to see if that office holder was voting what his constituents wanted, and if so, dropped the plank.   To continue would be forcing constituents to accept what they did not want.  Drop it and move on.

The second requirement is to surround himself with top notch people.  Look for and hire people who are capable of doing what is required.   Don’t worry about loyality;  that comes with time.  You can’t force someone to be loyal;  you can only force them to tell you they are loyal.  Real loyalty comes from love.  When people like you well enough, and buy into what you are trying to accomplish that they sacrifice some of their well being for a greater cause that you champion,  life becomes so much easier.   What about that spy?

There will always be spies.  The US has spies as well as China and Russia and Israel.   When spies are found out, they are dealt with quickly and decisively.   One has to.  Your loyal members need to know you value their feelings too.   But if you have a mole, and you are a good leader, your people will bring the spies before you, especially if they are interrupting their work and feelings of accomplishment.

When a management team closes ranks, it destroys it’s legacy.  It will not last forever and when it does go, it leaves no knowledge behind.  The replacement team tinkers and often erases all the accomplishment the original team laid out, so years later no one can remember anything you ever did.  A true team, leaves behind a team that is better than it was, having learned from all the original blunders and errors what not to do.  A true team, when it leaves, has things continuing running smoothly as far into the future as the eye can see.  As long as those things run well, when someone asks, who started this,  your legacy will be enhanced.

Bottom line, is to treat the employees in your office building like you would treat a community association meeting.  You are only, and will only be, as good as they are.

That needs to be your focus over the next four years…   A quick speech:  “We will not fail our constituents;  if you are having trouble succeeding, I need to know about it quickly so I can give you what you need to be successful.”

Time to move Forward.

New Castle County Executive. Today we decide.

I first heard of Bill Shahan from Nancy. Woo-hoo, I thought. Someone beside Clark. Bill filed early. He really wants to do this.

But alas in the meetings I attended, Bill Shahan appeared amateurish compared to Clark. Paul Clark, without Pam, presented a good case. He trimmed the budget, he kept the A+++ rating during the Republican Depression from 2008 on. He increased the amount of police being trained. He raised the target level, even though it would make him look bad politically, because he then had more openings on his police force.

Paul effectively explained and I doubt that Nancy could hear it, that sites like Barley Mill, could be developed if they met all parts of the code. The County cannot say to you who own the property, “you can’t build here”. It has no authority under code to do so. What it can do, and does, is say “Ok, if you are building you have to meet these requirements: traffic, environmental, run-off, density, historical, sewar.” As long as the property owner meets those requirements (or gets a variance) he is free to build……

In the beginning meetings back in March, Shahan sounded like a good guy, but, was outclassed by Clark. Clark had all the answers; Shahan had opinions yet untested….. Remember…. this was Pre-Gordon….

Then Tom Gordon enters the race. My first thought was, really? But then he makes a film for the Muslim audience of New Castle County, and that was impressive. No one in recent memory had ever reached out to them. Perhaps this was someone contrite, humbled, possessing a firm quietness…..

The first public meeting with Clark, Shahan, and Gordon, brought back all the memories. Gordon was a thug… Not in a bad way, and if you needed a forceful enterprising person, that personality might be advantageous, say, in tackling the murder rate of Wilmington, “Die, Sucker, Die”… But the congenial atmosphere of going to debates changed. Instead of hearing a college lecture, one needed to prepare his stomach as one does before a episode of “Breaking Bad.” They were combative.

It was like watching a dog fight… with everyone standing around… Your natural urge was to wonder, shouldn’t somebody do something to stop it?

Under the onslaught of Gordon’s thuggishness, Clark responded in kind. Debates were very visceral. It became about who was the toughest, about who could throw punches and who could dodge them, not what could be done for New Castle Citizens.

Having written off Shahan very early on, I believe all attention was focused on these two to see who would be the better for us. This is not completely accurate, but.. one could say the Unions back Gordon, and the Building Industry backs Clark.

It was Allan Loudell of WDEL News who first brought it to my attention. “Both challengers to Gordon & Clark – Jon Husband (a manager in the county’s Special Services department) and Bill Shahan (an employee in the county’s Land Use Department) – tried to stay above the fray. Shahan tried to direct the discussion to the future. He showed great polish and poise for someone who hasn’t held elective office before. Both lesser-known challengers suggested they’d be in a unique position to cut waste and inefficiencies in county government, because they’ve long labored within the innards of county government.”

“Bill Shahan tried to stay above the fray. Shahan tried to direct the discussion to the future. he showed great polish and poise for someone who hasn’t held elective office before……

That moment made me think there was something in Bill I had missed. He’d grown in 6 months.

Then I happened to catch his editorial in the News Journal. It was good, priorities were right. But in that opinion piece was a surprise I really liked. The question was what would you do to bring jobs to New Castle County. The others candidates said tax cuts, improve education… everything that sounds good but is impossible  to implement… Bill said, “our port is under utilized. If we bring in more cargo, we have people working full time, not part time. We have money spent in the economy. ” I said wow. Here is an idea from someone who really does have a breadth of knowledge. We already have it here, It sits right off the artery of eastern America, it is cheaper than further upriver, it has a great potential to steal business away from both Philly and Baltimore… Sure as the others stated, you could pay someone to try to coax a small business hiring one or two people to abandon every other county in the nation and choose ours, but really, what would be your rate of success? But to build up the port, where you already have trained labor under utilized, where you actually get tax money instead of giving it away, what a great idea. I wouldn’t have thought of that…

i began to see Bill as different. Bill was around before the UDC. Bill built the UDC. Bill has been around to see its successes and its failures. Bill really knows the UDC in and out. Now I don’t know about you, but often in ones workplace you have two jerks who are always vying with each other for the next big promotion. They form two camps of supporters, and neither one talks to the other… When each side talks to you, most of what they say, is telling you how bad the others are…

When both are on the same shift, the tension is thick. When only one is there, there is no love or happiness, but you can tolerate it. But when both are gone, everyone feels happy, like a load’s been lifted off, and everyone likes working those days because everyone does their job, doesn’t have to waste time looking over their shoulders, and enjoys the work thoroughly.

I was listening to Al Mascitti yesterday morning, and the was explaining the history of Tom Gordon, and Gordon supporters were calling up and bashing Clark. “You can’t talk about Gordon because Clark is corrupt!  He did this; he did that. He’s a terrible person… ” and I thought really? ….You are trying to make me like you, by demeaning someone else? And it was just disgusting… like the dogfight I alluded to above. Sure it was good radio, but somewhere in that discussion, I had to ask why… Why are we dealing with this?  If either one, Clark or Gordon gets elected, the other side won’t let up, and this will continue ad infinitum. ….

What would break the cycle?

“if you stay out of the headlines for bad things, and start making headlines for good things”…. Bill Shahan.e/o WHYY

That finally decided it for me. “Damn, we deserve better than what we have.”

What was originally a diamond in the rough, has now been polished.. and is now ready to lead the first county in the Diamond State.

When a good person is put in charge, everyone steps up to carry him forward. If (and I stress if because I’m beginning to think the guy on the inside all these years maybe does have all the answers),  there is any experience factor missing in Bill Shahan’s portfolio, someone already and expert in it, can support him.

The difference is, we can now all be” proud” of who our County Chief executive is, instead of carefully watching our elected officials  and tolerating their disgustingly negative spontaneous outbursts.

First it was Donald Trump’s amateur fillies… now it’s the professionals… Delaware has lost twice to California…

In the Ms USA pagent, Delaware’s own Katie Hanson, lost to Ms California who naturally, took the crown… When it came to Thoroughbreds, Delaware did a little better……

Delaware’s Havre De Grace, took the lead and California’s blind luck, just came up in time for the wire.

Even when he drew even with Havre de Grace, Gomez said he was unsure Blind Luck was going to get past her.

“We came up to her and she fought back,” her rider, Gomez said. “I thought I might be in a little trouble. But with this filly, as soon as you pull her out and she pins her ears back, she accelerates in two jumps.”

It was all the horse…..
“My horse dragged me to the front, and turning for home she gave me all she had and really kept on digging,” said Dominguez, who was the dominant rider at Delaware Park when he rode there from 2003-2008. “It was just a head bob and the other filly got up just in time.”

The final time of 2:01.28 was the fastest running of the Del Cap since Unbridled Belle’s 2:01.16 in 2006.

It may seem unfair that “great big ole California” beats out the state with the fewest number of counties (only 3) … but, if you compare populations, the simple fact that quite often Delaware and California are pitted neck to neck just before the final wire, it is fair to say that with California’s population of 37,253,956 versus Delaware’s of 897,934 it takes roughly 41.49 Californians, to match up to and equal one Delawarean….. 🙂

We may be small, but we ARE tough!

Duffy is God’s answer to a prayer.. I miss the old days of blogging when we were debating principals instead of people… Duffy has stuck to the old line of debating principals with facts, and that is what makes him special in the eyes of bloggers everywhere…

Since the passing of Steve Newton, he has been the only one to challenge me in any argument, and usually some pretty good stuff comes out of both sides during the exchange… I have respected that.. Cause once again, opinions mean dick. Facts are what we steer by.. It is my hope that in responding to his challenge that an answer may make itself apparent.. Who knows? It may not come from me… But if I’m the catalyst for bringing it out in the open, then… none of this was in vain..

Why I like to debate Duffy is simple.. Neither side, he or I, is concretely set in their opinions… We accept it when the other side makes sense… I usually go into such debates having no idea where they’ll end up… I hope the rest of you enjoy the ride as welI….

That said..

Duffy leads: Wall Street’s problems were caused by Fannie and Freddie loaning money to people they knew couldn’t pay and moreover, forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay. That was not deregulation but misregulation

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate.

First off, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was developed for, and locked in on, urban developmental areas and had no part of the subprime boom, which primarily occurred out in western desert regions where owning 4 to 5 investment homes was normal… Those homes were overwhelmingly funded by loan originators NOT SUBJECT to the act… We all know the crises was not because people couldn’t afford a payment on their house. It came about, because with no occupants, people could not afford the payments of 4 to 5 houses….. Instead of one loan per borrower turning up in default; four to five were.
Investment Homes lead forclosures not inner city Residences

Second off, The housing bubble reached its point of maximum inflation in 2005.
The Housing Bubble Starts to Dive in 2005
Courtesy of NYT

Third off, During those exact same years, Fannie and Freddie were sidelined by Congressional pressure, and saw a sharp drop in their share of loans secured by the Feds… Follow the dotted line on the very bottom of the graph…
Freddie and Fannie on the lowest line
Courtesy of NYT

Fourth off; During those exact same years, private secures, like Delaware’s own AIG, grabbed the lions share of the market.
Private, not Public Insurers Caused the Crash
Courtesy of NYT

Remember these graphs for later on when I discuss the results of deregulation, versus regulation… But like it or not, these graphs conclusively show that private insurers, who thanks to Marie Evans, we now know were deregulated by Phil Gramm in the 2000 Omnibus Bill, were the primary cause of the worlds financial collapse.. Probably put best by these words of AIG’s spokesperson, who when asked why they didn’t have sufficient funds to cover losses, said point blank, “We were deregulated. We were no laws requiring us to keep any funds, ..so we spent it…”

Duffy leads: The loosely regulated hedge funds escaped this mess largely unscathed. Why? They can’t count on a bailout like the big banks. The Too Big To Fail banks were counting on a bailout (not unlike the S&L bailouts which started on the Republican’s watch) and they got them.

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. I agree that the hedge funds did survive better than the banks. Not because of bailouts, but because they sold short during the crises and made billions while firms closed and people got thrown out of work. There is nothing wrong with that; I did the same. In fact close readers may remember my warnings that the crises was impending almost a year earlier. Very close readers may remember my telling them exactly when to sell, and at what point the stock market would rebound… I must say: I called it rather well. 🙂

“Hedge funds were not in my understanding, at fault in the credit crisis,” said David Ruder, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “At the most what they did was to sell securities when some of their investments were declining and they needed to have liquid funds. They were not the architects of these problems.”

De regulated hedge funds are not the issue… De-regulated, excessively leveraged, mortgage securities, are a different story however… They, not the banks that held them, are the cause of the crises…Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

Where you err is when you state that banks too big to fail, assumed they would be bailed out… By implication, you say imply they failed from squandering money, and wanted the bailouts.. But your tax dollars didn’t flow directly to the bottom line.

The roughly $200 billion the Treasury Department has handed out to battered banks was swapped for a special class of stock that pays a 5 percent dividend (rising to 9 percent after five years.) As of April 15, the Treasury had collected about $2.5 billion in dividend payments on its investment.

So in that sense, the bailout money represents an expense for banks. That’s one reason a number of banks have said they want to give the money back as soon as possible.

You say big banks were counting on a bailout, and they got them? That didn’t happen to these banks. New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida each lost a bank just last Friday. That brings to 8, the number of banks failed in June. Unfortunately if a bank is failing, it can’t bet on itself to fail, as can a hedge fund.

Duffy leads: Banks have successfully lobbied to get their losses absorbed by taxpayers and gains are kept private. How nice for them. They felt comfortable making insane gambles because they knew they’d be bailed out. Most of them were right. Also remember that it was Bill Clinton who tore down the wall between retail and investment banking. The idea was to give banks more stability as they typically perform as exact opposites in bull and bear markets. (FWIW, I think that was a good idea and I can tell you first hand that two of the Fortune 100 banks I worked for were carried by retail banking in bear years. They may not have had bonuses those years but they didn’t have layoffs either)

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. The idea is that the banks made bad decisions knowing taxpayers would bail them out is the issue that is inaccurate. For the record, I have no qualms that it was the Clinton legacy who tore down the wall between banks and investment banking. Like you, I feel it was a good idea to do so… Again the problem was not primarily with banks making loans to people who could not pay.. Although, it was as late as October 2009, when I was made aware of one private Bank in Denver still exaggerating income to make loans look good enough on paper to get approval of securitization. What caused the collapse was the leveraging of those loans as securities, so that as the housing market became overextended, and the ARM jumped past the low cost opening years, the damage was 100 times worse because of leveraging. What made the collapse criminal, was that the insurance most financial institutions had bought from AIG, to cover such an improbable event, had already spent by that companies executives, out on bonuses to themselves. What made it doubly criminal, was that when they received government dollars through a taxpayer bailout, those same executives assumed it was to first go towards paying their bonuses again. However, very recent events may give some cover to the argument that some collusion was implicit in the bailing out of Goldman Sacs and AIG… Basically, once bailed out, AIG paid Goldman Sacs for shares twice as much as they were worth. The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.

What Lower New Castle County Can Expect if They Don't Fight Hard
photo from file.

(Overheard on his cellphone to his developer boss; paraphrased, coming from a skinny twenty something, logo’d in a golf shirt, khaki pants, standing in the vestibule corner as everyone filed out; “it’s spinning out of control. E-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y is angry. I don’t think we can fix it. It’s going the wrong way. I think we lost the election.”)

Now I’ve seen many meetings.  Usually it’s always the same comfortable group, the same participants, with one or two of the same troublemaker activists.  We all know each other, politely nod to our enemies,  and once our duty is performed, socializing progresses afterwards.  The short story version appears in the News Journal two days later….

Usually.

That was not what happened last night, August September 4th ( 🙂 h/t rsmitty) inside the Crossroads Presbyterian Church, which had blissfully wonderful cushioned green seats; that is if you were early enough to grab one…

Standing-room-only would be too cliche to describe the turnout.  This issue at hand was so hot it swelled participation far above the 200  the organizers had expected…. (237 cars were counted; 500 participants?)  They had even forgotten to plan for a microphone, assuming normal voices would suffice.

They didn’t, and fortunately a microphone was found.

Dignitaries (ie our politicos) sat across in front of the crowd… Dick Cathcart sat center, Bill Bell sat next to him.  Bill Powers sat and stood on Cathcart’s left. Penrose Hollins drove down to represent Council. Bill Dunn, Bethany Hall Long, Earl Jacques, Rebecca Walker, Tom Scherer, Mike Protack, Bruce Ennis, members of the land use committee, and the Superintendent of the Appoquinimink School District showed up.  Ms Fitzpatrick (sp) came in place of Representative Lofink, who was unfortunately at his son’s wedding rehearsal, to which one irate resident blurted out….”that’s no excuse!” Her spouse, quickly put his hand on her leg, and warned her to calm down..”it’s his son’s wedding….”

Yes tensions were that high…..

But the real star of the entire evening was the map….  Yes, a silly map.  It stood tall over the entire meeting, dominating everyone’s attention… It out staged the County Council Head, Penrose Collins, who stormed off when it became obvious that the audience was not interested in his point of view….

Most felt that was fair play…. for no one had taken the time to consider their point of view when these ordinances were passed, affecting the entire lower region of the New Castle County… That it turns out, appears to be true…. no one.

The map stood tall over the entire proceeding, reminding everyone, every minute of the immense changes coming soon.  And the changes were immense….

Here is the scale they are speaking off.

Three new schools will need to be built, one each year, to accommodate the new influx of  students.  The school district was surprised tonight; the plans were made without consulting them.  They have no money to grow.

Traffic will grow by 1800 cars.  What’s the visual of 1800 cars?  At fifteen feet per vehicle, 27,000 feet total divided by 5280 ft/mile, equals a line of cars, parked bumper to bumper, a little over 5 miles long…  Imagine a line of cars parked on the shoulder of RT 1 from St. George’s bridge to the heart of Odessa.  There is your visual image.  Deldot was surprised tonight.  The plans were made without consulting them. And they too, have no money to grow.

Most of the areas do not have sewer capacity yet; however in a rush, building will progress, anticipating promised waivers to use septic systems, until the county sewer system can catch up….. (Do you follow county finances?)  They have no money to grow…..

The wells to supply additional amounts of water; they are not yet drilled.  They are on hold, for they have no money to grow….

The anger seemed to grow exponentially within that room… (Thank heavens they held this disclosure within a church).

Hats off to a great job done by the organizers, including one Chuck Mulholland.  No one could have prepared them for what took place.  Their natural demeanor saved the day, rising to the challenge of the moment.  Particularly impressive was Chuck’s impromptu changing of the agenda, as it became quite apparent that citizens were there to make their voices heard, not listen to failed excuses….  That change-up, diffused some tension, perhaps saving a riot…     I’ll bet he never expected to put 3 miles on that evening, all the while carrying the microphone.

The question of the day?  How could this have happened…

The answer:

Mr. Pam Scott Paul Clark, President of County Council.

All these elements were rushed though, without vetting, to get developers in construction phase before the public could become aware of what was aimed at them.  No vetting was done, so no leaks would occur.  The last thing developers and Paul Clark needed,  was a large meeting of outraged citizens.

Obviously the details of the arrangements were made in his home, and presented fait accompli to the Council for its rubber stamp.   That is after all, what New County Council’s  tend to do…

Therefore Paul Clark needs to go.

Councilman Bill Bell, who resembles the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man, performed the role of a stool quite adequately.  “No one told me” was his response….” I didn’t know…” he stammered.  The question which immediately popped into every head but one, was  ” why not?”  That’s your job…

Obviously his principal function was to be the Rose Margaret Henry of the County Council. Being put in that position by the developers and unions, means he obviously feels he doesn’t need to call back his constituents, doesn’t need to show up at their meetings, doesn’t need to answer their letters or emails…  Like Margaret Rose Henry, all he needs to do is show up… and vote the way he is told..

When faced with 450 some people he began to get nervous.  His primary is days away…  His opponent Tom Scherer, who is having his own personal fight with the developers of his development, over their unfulfilled promises..  certainly does appear to be the better choice,  Towards the end, almost reduced to pleading for his seat, Mr. Bell promised too late, to “not support” the resolution that due to his complicity, has already been passed….

If there was another star, other than the map, the organizers, and the citizens themselves, it was Representative Dick Cathcart…  Angered at the incompetence bordering on deceit coming from   Mr Pam Scott Paul Clark and his Council, he promised legislation to forever put County Council growth under State oversight…. it’s about time.

Bruce Ennis, surprised everyone in the room by coming down hard for a moratorium on all new development.  Two, three, four years  whatever it takes to get local citizens to become comfortable with the new developments.  He cited Kent County as a place where citizens took control and booted all developers our of governmental oversight positions….  That county is once again under control of its citizens; spawning a series of lawsuits from developers against it.  Ennis implied that as long as New Castle’s citizenry supported the continuation of a moratorium against such lawsuits, he would as well.  Most nuisance lawsuits would be thrown out, costing nothing since they were filed with no legal grounds to support them, but still the stigma of having lawsuits might make some citizens feel uneasy….  The consensus in that room was: if you take on the developers…. we got your back….

Go get them Bruce.

They came to listen.  They got their earful.

Distilled to its basic elixir, here is the essence.

New Castle County  development is controlled by developers and the Building Trades Union who are linked together in their interest for growth.  Money for developers, jobs for employees.  They own the following:  Chris Coons, Paul Clark, Bill Bell, Bill Powers, George Smiley, and Bob Weiner….

Breaking that connection is the first step in returning Democracy back to those New Castle County citizens who live outside the city. Democratic Voters have the opportunity to sever that connection during Tuesday’s primary, September 8th.   Voting Bill Dunn over Paul Clark, Tom Gordon over Chris Coons, Tom Scherer over Bill Bill, and Carl Colantuono over John Cartier, will do your part in returning Democracy to County Government. (Yeah, I know one is controversial, but if elected, we will own him, not the developers).

I’ve run out of time and space.  Not mentioned here was the citizens fear of falling property values; not mentioned here was one realtor who spoke 6 (?) times, warning citizens of how workforce housing would affect their property values, not mentioned here was the question of where these workforce housing residents, transferred from Wilmington’s projects on the East Side, would find ever find work to pay for their housing, pimps, and bags of crack; not mentioned here was the cost of someone to cut down tennis shoes hanging from electric wires; not mentioned here was how noble Bill Dunn looked when working the crowd, compared to Paul Clark 4 years ago; not mentioned here was how poorly workforce housing residents obey driving laws; not mention here was how insufficient the current sewer systems are today, even without additional units; not mentioned here was how County Council increased the density levels, so developers could sell more houses per lot, more profit per lot; not mentioned here were the number of minority citizens who vehemently said they left the city to get away from the trash the County was again forcing upon them; not mentioned here was how hard everyone has worked, and suffered, to build their piece of the American dream, which now the County Council, at the bequest of Developers and Building Trade Unions, was about to destroy, WITHOUT EVEN CONSULTING THEM!

I wish I had more time…

Nancy, Geek?  Can you add more?

Hats off to rsmitty for getting the time down correctly.

Verified by Representative Dick Cathcart, the News Journal, and the Middletown Transcript the all important meeting on the changes in UDC code affecting the lower canal area, will take place tonight at 7:00 pm at the Crossroads Presbyterian Church at 627 Vance Neck Road, just north of Odessa.

It had previously been reported on Delaware Way and this Blog, that the date was tomorrow.

It is not. It is tonight…..August September 4th….

Again, if possible, every citizen of New Castle County, needs to be there at this meeting. it is THAT important… Barring that, everyone who CAN make it, needs to hear what the changes made to the Unified Development Code, will do to your property value and quality of life…..

Although the Code applies only to New Castle County, it would be helpful for our brothers and sisters of Sussex and Kent Counties, to make the short trip up north, in order to see what’s at stake, so they can have the foresight to make preemptive plans accordingly….