Letters to the Editor — December 20, 2013

Reader responds to previous letter


Joanne Cabry, Progressive Democrats of Sussex County chair, called out the Republican legislators in Sussex County for requesting a moratorium on stormwater management regulations. She cites flooding by Sandy, the worse storm to hit the mid-East Coast in years, as support for the regulations.

I have lived here for 18 years, and my neighbor at the time had been here for 25 years, and this was the first time for either of us that we had water over our bank. Does Joanne really think that these regulations are going to manage the worse storms that ever hit our shores? I see this as a low political attack using the worst storm in years.

If we want to see how effective our ability to manage damage by severe storms is, just watch the sand on the north side of the Indian River Inlet when the next big storm hits. Do they really think that a bank of sand will hold back the water in a major storm? When that area washes out again, will she blame that on the Republican moratorium?

Walt Berwick

Reader discusses independents


I grew up a Democrat because my dad was a Democrat — “the party of the people, the common man.” We were common men. Of course, much has changed since then.

There was a time when I switched from a registered Democrat to an “independent” voter. I realized rather quickly that all I did was cut myself out of the primaries and had no say in voting on party issues or candidates. And I wasn’t thinking any more independently than before. When I re-registered, I registered as a Republican, because that was the party I most associated with.

The ranks of independent voters have swelled in the last decade or two. Some think it registers the great dissatisfaction of the electorate with the major parties. Perhaps it does. But it has also allowed more freedom for dedicated Democrats to follow a more radical agenda and the Republicans to moderate, until the Tea Party started to get more involved.

An independent has decided not to join any party, as if that allows him or her more room to think. That sounds good. Except that it implies that registered Republicans and Democrats do not think for themselves; and to be sure, some don’t. They are dedicated to those parties, come hell or high water. I want to believe that, no matter which party you are registered in, you are voting for candidates and issues that are for the good of the country.

Registering as an independent does preclude you from party decisions. The two dominant parties are now filled with fewer but more dedicated members, which skew those parties a bit more than normal.

I believe independents do themselves, and the country, a disservice, because in most states, they have no say as to whether a candidate should be primaried or not; and, if primaried, who the challenger(s) should be. They have no say in the discussion of issues and solutions, what the platform of issues should be, and why the platform turns out to be just window dressing, and no one adheres to it. They do not attend meetings and so cannot contribute to either pro or con arguments on any issue, or be a moderating influence. And the parties suffer for it.

Independents are therefore shirking a duty — a duty to be more involved in political decisions, instead of just voting for issues and candidates whose choice was relinquished to others. It is a “feel good” position, and a far less demanding one. It is a good excuse for not being involved, since there are no meeting halls and no meetings, no issues and no candidates. It is waiting to see which way the wind blows. It is allowing things to happen around you, with no input on your part. That is not how a constitutional representative republic works. It is definitely not the way self-governance works.

Voting is not a right, it is a privilege and a responsibility; it is more than pulling a lever. Get off the fence. Get informed. Get involved!

Armand Carreau

Stop giving concessions to developers


Rep. Ron Gray and other Sussex legislators have collectively written to DNREC’s Secretary Collin O’Mara to request a three-year moratorium in Sussex and Kent counties for the implementation of the State Stormwater Management Regulations, which would otherwise go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. (Find the regulations at: http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title7/5000/5101.shtml.)

So why is Rep. Gray asking for a delay?

“Because of the geography and high water tables in Sussex County, compliance with the new requirements will be very costly and may have a negative effect on near-term and future development, which is one of our major industries,” he says in his Dec 5, 2013, letter to Secretary O’Mara.

The economic hardship referred to in Rep. Gray’s letter is the regulations’ effect on infrastructure costs when building new housing developments; it might cause developers to spend more money to comply with the regulations that are designed to provide better stormwater drainage for us all. I think we are all familiar with our drainage issues and recognize that the construction of new communities compounds water runoff and thus drainage problems.

The reality is that developers are already “grandfathered” in to current regulations and are not subject to the new regulations for a period up to six years if construction has not yet begun and/or until completion if construction has begun. Thus, Rep. Gray’s request amounts to a nine-year delay. The regulations will only apply to new development requests.

Drainage issues in Sussex need to be addressed. Sadly, the mentality of Sussex County state and local legislators is reactionary in regard to change and spending money and is highly protective of development and developers. You and I seem to be at the bottom of priorities.

Tell your representatives you do not support Rep. Gray’s request and tell Secretary O’Mara you do support the regulations to better our drainage issues. Here is how:

• Legislators: http://www.delaware.gov/egov/portal.nsf/portal/elected

• DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, 89 Kings Highway Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 739-9000; fax (302) 739-6242.

Jeffrey Chandross

Trot organizer thankful for support


Residents and guests of Fenwick Island and the surrounding communities braved unseasonably cold temperatures on Thanksgiving morning for the 6th Annual Fenwick Island Turkey Trot. Each year, the event gets bigger and better thanks to the efforts of many, and I hope to adequately send my thanks in this letter.

The Turkey Trot is, first and foremost, a fundraiser. This year, I chose to support the Delaware SPCA. Its mission is to prevent cruelty to animals and to encourage humane treatment of all animals.

In our somewhat anemic economy, pets are often relinquished due to their owners’ inability to afford them. Additionally, the pet population continues to increase because people do not spay or neuter. The Delaware SPCA is a “no-kill” shelter that is completely funded by donations, and I was thrilled so many good people rallied to help such a great organization. In all, we raised just shy of $4,000.

Many generous sponsors provided incredible support. Most sincere appreciation to Gold level sponsors Fairfax Mortgage Investments Inc., Just Hooked, Rehoboth Beach Running Company and Rooster’s Nest; Silver level sponsors hipAHA, Fenwick Island Boot Camp, Hockers Deli and One Coastal; and Bronze level sponsors Atlantic Shoals, Bikini’s & More, the Bookend Café, Coastal Kayak, The Dispatch, HousePawz Pet Sitting, Island Construction, Maryland Screen Printing, Pottery Place, Rope Walk Fenwick, Shay Gallo Construction and Surf’s Edge Deli.

My thanks to the 384 trotters (and 40 dogs) who came to the Trot and donated items from the SPCA wish list. We gathered a truckload of items.

Thanks also to everyone who bought a commemorative T-shirt. All the T-shirt proceeds were able to be donated. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see people sport the T-shirts all year long at the beach. Thanks also to the hipAHA Fenwick Island Boot Campers for volunteering with T-shirt sales and event planning.

Special thanks to Pottery Place Perks Cafe for the post-event hospitality and to Coastal Kayak for their dog treat donation and prizes for the overall male and female finishers.

“The Delaware SPCA would like to thank Hip AHA, the sponsors and participants of the 2013 Turkey Trot. We are a non-profit organization that relies solely on donations to care for our animals and events such as this help us tremendously. The money raised and items donated will help enrich the lives of the homeless animals in our care,” said Joanne Murphy, volunteer and development coordinator.

In addition to helping to the Delaware SPCA, the Turkey Trot is a fun 2.2-mile run. This year, the Kaulbach family from Philadelphia dominated. Max won the Men’s Division, Jasia won the Women’s Division and their dad, Fred, placed third in the Men’s Division.

It is my pleasure to thank everyone involved for making the 6th Annual Fenwick Island Turkey Trot a success.

Lori Martin
Fenwick Island Turkey Trot

BBPD warns of phone scam

Bethany Beach police recently warned the town’s residents and those of surrounding communities of a potential phone scam affecting the area, noting that during this time of year, people can attempt to take advantage of the kindness of the season.

In the current scam, police said, the callers are representing themselves as members of local government agencies.

“At this point, we just ask people to be cautious and make sure to verify who you are talking to. Questions are the best defense against phone scams. Legitimate organizations will be able to answer your questions about their agencies; phone scam callers will have a small amount of information in comparison to the legitimate agencies.”