Letters to the Editor -- February 25, 2011

Reader gives different side to argument

I am writing in response to the flurry of letters and articles relating to the mute swans of White’s Creek. I also reside on the banks of White’s Creek, but have a different view of the situation.

Shortly after moving into our home, I noted the swans swimming by in the creek. I’ll admit I was alarmed, having read about the dangers of swan infestations to local habitat. These animals are not native to Delaware, the U.S. or the continent.

They are large, can attack humans, and destroy vegetation necessary to our native waterfowl and creek life. They are actually known to destroy more vegetation than they eat. I am, therefore, at a loss to explain why there seems to be so much affection for these animals.

Michigan is currently dealing with a population of 15,000 of these birds and control is almost beyond a possibility, and people are protesting there, as well. Can none of us trust the people that we employ to advise us on the feasibility of allowing the swans to swim freely on White’s Creek? Why do people assume that their motives are nefarious?

These state employees have degrees that provide them with the necessary background to make wise and prudent decisions. I am quite sure they were not itching to get out here with shotguns to kill these birds. They simply had no choice. I cannot imagine how you would monitor swan procreation out there, since there are unlimited areas for nesting.

While I agree that the birds are beautiful, I do not agree that they can be safely maintained in the White’s Creek area. Imagine what would happen if we were talking about an invasion of alligators in the Creek… Would you all be as concerned about their health and wellbeing?

Finally, as a resident of this area, I am constantly amazed at the wonderful amount of energy here for causes… But I am at a loss to explain this one.

Susan C. Baxter
Ocean View

Wood gets a nod from Meredith

I am writing to comment on statements made by mayoral candidate Pickrell, council candidate Mitchell and former councilman Nippes. The statements made by these individuals are misleading in their attack against Mayor Gordon Wood.

Mayoral candidate Pickrell, in his negative campaign toward Mayor Wood, claims to be part of the silent majority. Well, I don’t think so. The real silent majority, led by a group of honest and caring citizens, spoke loud and clear last election by ousting Nippes in favor of electing Michelle Steffens, giving her 70 percent of their votes, and Geoff Christ, who received 77 percent. The citizens are tired of negative attack politics.

As defined in the town’s charter, the proposed budget is not the mayor’s budget. The budget is prepared by the town manager, who currently utilizes a model designed by former councilman Thomas. Thomas also was the author of the extended yearly 8 percent tax increase, not Mayor Wood.

Council candidate Mitchell also lays blame on Wood, but Mitchell voted for each tax increase, as well as most expenditures during his past three years on the council. Additionally, when he and two other councilmen tried to covertly break the chief of police’s contract, their antics cost the town $20,000 in legal fees.

To absolve themselves, these three proposed and voted for a resolution sanctifying their past covert actions when they should have been censured. Mitchell chose not to participate positively at the council’s budget workshop led by Mayor Wood but submitted a one-page budget with undocumented bullet points as his contribution. Participation like this only thwarts Mayor Wood’s efforts to realistically address this pressing issue.

Former councilman Nippes, like Mitchell, is a revisionist regarding his actions while on the council. He too voted for each tax increase and proposed additional spending, especially when it concerned his development or anything historical, and was part of the triad against the chief of police, along with Thomas.

I commend the editors for warning the citizens that the political rhetoric machine is in full effect and cautioning the readers to be aware and read between the lines. Voters should do their homework and not be swayed by disingenuous political talk. There is an old saying that actions speak louder than words. In some cases, they scream at you.

Gary L. Meredith, Former Mayor
Ocean View

Reader asks for more civility in politics

Screaming women and character assassinating men dominated the GOP meeting at Del Tech’s Carter Hall Wednesday evening, Feb. 16, 2011.

The double standard and dichotomy began when the acting chairman, Vance Phillips, stated that he needed a Parliamentarian and immediately appointed Brent Wagaman, an individual many people thought was a registered Libertarian, not a Republican.

There was no review of Brent’s credentials, no motion to permit him to serve. Yet when Chairman Ron Sams did the very same thing prior to the January 2011 meeting, Mr. Sams was verbally castigated and the Parliamentarian, Bruce Fitzgerald, was pressured to resign for “the good of the party.”

Motions were made, a substitute agenda approved and the character assassination of Chairman Sams began. It was all I could do not to laugh out loud! The very same actions, or “lack thereof” had been practiced by the three previous Sussex County regional chairs.

So, what was different now? A hidden agenda had to be fulfilled! The media were invited, whereas in previous situations, the media were asked to leave and the doors were closed. The hidden agenda became very obvious. Media were present to record the character assassination and the walk-out when Tom Ross began to speak in an effort to publicly disgrace them and to force elected officials to resign from their non-paying jobs.

Does anyone remember when the primary election results became available in September 2010?

Vance Phillips telephoned WGMD to say that Ron Sams; Tom Ross, state party chair; Priscilla Rakestraw, national committeewoman; and Laird Stabler, national committeeman; “had to go” and that the “Delaware Republican Party will never be the same.” Aren’t those the same words that came out of the mouth of Christine O’Donnell when she lost the Senate seat in the election?

Having witnessed the effort to embarrass Sams and Ross, I wanted to hear the additional chapter in the effort to dismantle the party. WBOC carried the planned character attack on the 11 p.m. news Wednesday evening.

The following afternoon, I even turned on WGMD after the 3 p.m. news to hear what Bill Colley would say. Colley stated that he led a “walk-out” when Tom Ross began to speak, and indeed he did – a half dozen or so folks followed him out the door, and as Colley stated, they left the door open to hear what was being said. Colley’s rude behavior and continued character assassination seems to be the new norm for those few who choose to follow him. Several dozen of us turn the dial or literally turn off WGMD after the 3 p.m. news.

On the positive side, it is very exciting to see the passion and increased numbers of people interested in Republican politics. I do, however, wish the thug tactics (with actual threats of bodily harm or, in the case of Sams and Ross, character assassinations) would stop. Does “praying” behavior apply to politics or are they only words to be spoken? I wish that civility and respect for others would return to Sussex.

Mary Spicer, President
Delaware Federation of Republican Women

Reader supports Pickrell for mayor

I am a resident of Ocean View and a retired police officer from the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department. I am voting for George Pickrell to be our next mayor of Ocean View.

George is also a retired police officer. He retired from the Montgomery Country, Md., Police Department, which is one of the finest police departments in the United States. With his credentials, George is uniquely qualified to oversee the operations of the Ocean View Police Department, which is a responsibility that Ocean View has given to the mayor.

George should be instrumental in ensuring that our police force receives the law enforcement accreditation that Mayor Wood has failed to pursue.

In addition, George has common sense. He has lived in Ocean View for six years. He attends the town council meetings, workshops, etc., on a regular basis, and is very concerned about the out-of-control spending that has occurred in our town. He believes that our town can and should operate within revenues collected and wants to be sure that the structural deficit we face in the next few years is eliminated by cost-cutting rather than raising our taxes.

George will know how we can cut costs without diminishing the effectiveness of our police department and vital police services. As a former law enforcement officer, I agree with George’s position that we do not need to hire additional police officers at this time and that expanding our force to provide police support to Millville is not in the interests of the residents and taxpayers of Ocean View.

I know there are many residents of Ocean View who share George’s vision and who may not have made the effort to express their views by voting in past elections. I urge all full-time residents of Ocean View to please make the effort on April 9, 2011 – come out and vote for George Pickrell – “A Voice for Financial Responsibility.”

Rich Vengazo
Ocean View