Letters to the Editor --July 31, 2009

Writer believes Mervine is not the choice

If you go to the “Polly Adams Mervine for Senate” Web page you can read her five stances on the issues. I will refrain from mentioning here that every other candidate has told the voters how they stand on many issues, not simply giving vague ideas covering as little as possible.

I want to talk about her platform, or, as her Web page called it, “the issues.” (I am paraphrasing her stances from her Web page, but I’m not adding anything to them.)

(1) We (great, proud, traditional Delawareans) must continue having a balanced budget without raising taxes.

There are a few things I want to mention about this statement. Did I hear this year that Delaware was dealing with a deficit in the hundreds of millions of dollars? That the tradition Delaware had held on to was historically broken?

I realize that no one comes into a political race announcing they plan on raising taxes. If Polly is saying we need to have a balanced budget in order for her not to push for tax increases, then I see that as her saying she sees no way for her to not raise taxes (unless she’s better with a calculator then everyone already employed by the state).

(2) We must strive for a smaller state government.

What I get from this is, regardless of the recent state employee pay cuts, she wants to cut jobs (maybe that’s how she plans to balance the budget).

(3) Support small businesses and farmers in Delaware.

This I see as a space-filler. Of course we want to support farmers and small businesses, especially since the district she is running in has a lot of farmers. I once again know no one that runs for office on a platform of alienating and destroying small business owners.

(4) We must work hard to bring new businesses to Delaware.

I was unaware that the state had pushed a “no new business” stance previously. I was actually under the impression that Delaware state government has tried to encourage people to move to Delaware.

(5) I will strive to improve our schools.

I realize Delaware has a problem with state spending related to state test scores. This state has an education problem. This has been discussed by many in the past and will continue to be discussed by many in the future.

Polly Adams Mervine has taken a firm stance on the issues. I find it hard to find anyone that will disagree with a single point mainly because it’s all filler. I have read her entire Web page and still do not know her any better. I do know she was the third runner up for Mrs. Delaware in 2007. I have learned she has a faux-finishing business, Fauxbulous FX Inc., but on that company Web site she doesn’t have the “Adams” included in her name. Also, she tends to avoid any “debate” situations she can.

My opinion, after reading the platforms of some of the other people running (most notably Matthew Opaliski at www.opaliskicampaign.com and Wendy Jones at www.delawareliberty.com), I think Polly Adams Mervine is trying to run on name only. She has gone door-to-door while campaigning and mentioned her father, “getting tears in her eyes”.

I sympathize with her greatly on the loss of her father, but I don’t feel she is capable of living up to his name. My vote is going to someone who isn’t afraid of telling me how they feel.

Angel Clark
Rehoboth Beach

Editor’s note: The writer is the public relations director for the Sussex County Community Organized Regiment, a non-partisan conservative group.

Family thankful for sympathy in loss of son

We, the family of Kameron Chandler, would like to say thanks to all who showed their kindness, love and concern in the loss of our dear beloved son and grandson.

Kameron was a wonderful, loving son and he fought leukemia for four years, four months, with all that he had. Many times we received bad news, but he would always come back determined to fight until the end. He was Mom-Mom’s Champ and, indeed, he proved to be a worthy opponent against leukemia. We will cherish the time in which he was in remission, as well as those when he was not.

Thanks for all the sympathy cards, food, monetary gifts, hugs and prayers from family and friends. Thanks to all who attended his home-going services on Saturday, June 20. A special thanks to the Mariner Middle School faculty and 2007-2008 football team and coaches, who constantly kept in touch. A special thanks also to the Sussex Technical High School freshman faculty, football team and coaches.

Many area churches also had Kameron on their prayer lists, and we will always be grateful for everyone’s prayers. Kameron would pray daily, read his Bible and attend church faithfully, unless he was hospitalized or at home but not allowed in crowds due to risk of infections.

At the end, we prayed and read for him and, although it was hard, we are so grateful to God that our son knew Him personally and is now in Heaven. Kameron is no longer in any pain, dealing with any medicines or confined to any hospital. Indeed, Kameron won this battle in the end because leukemia only destroyed the body but God gave him an eternal one that will never need repair.

We miss you, Kam, but we’ll see you again. May God continue to bless those who bless others.

Mervin and Carmen (Harmon) Brittingham, Parents of Kameron Chandler
Thomas and Emma Harmon, Grandparents of Kameron Chandler

State senator would like ‘think-tank’ assembled

As I am currently serving with my sixth governor, I must make mention that the 145th General Assembly recently concluded the most critical legislative session in my time of service to the people of Delaware. As it stands today, we are likely to face more sessions at the same crucial level in the future.

With this in mind, I have requested that Gov. Markell create a “think-tank” of small- and large- businesspersons who deal successfully with the real world of being in business today, the private sector. That group would make recommendations on how to make our state government more efficient and how to create an atmosphere within our state where businesses can thrive and grow and how to encourage businesses to locate here in an effort to increase our revenue.

Naturally, the discussions and results should be online, where all citizens would be able to view them.

One issue would be to look at Delaware being the second most centralized of state governments in our United States. Our towns and counties, by sheer smaller size, have a better handle on curbing expenses.

I sincerely believe that with this group and continuous input from concerned citizens, we can make a real difference in the future of our state.

State Sen. George H. Bunting Jr.

Herbert clarifies position on restrooms

The story in the Coastal Point last week on the restrooms/locker rooms debate in the Ocean View Public Safety Building inadvertently reversed my position on the issue.

This is what I said to the reporter, “If I were a town employee, I would be angry and even resentful if I were denied use of the restrooms and locker rooms, knowing that volunteers [CAP members primarily] not only had use of the restrooms and locker rooms but that some of them even had lockers assigned to them. Why don’t town employees have lockers in there?”

This comment was made after the town council meeting, and several conversations/interviews were going on. I can understand how my position became garbled. However, I want to make it clear I do support the town administrative staff’s desire to use the second floor restrooms.

In the council discussion, it was stated that police officers had the right to take a shower without worrying about civilians walking in. Town Manager Conway Gregory said that no officer has taken a shower during administrative office hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday though Friday) since the town AD staff moved into the building four months ago. No one challenged that statement, so it’s apparently accurate.

Why can’t a simple sign saying “Occupied” be hung on the door when a police officer wants to shower or use the restroom? It’s certainly worth a try.

Ed Herbert
Ocean View

Residents offer opinions on non-resident voting

Should the Town of Ocean View allow non-residents to vote?

There are many non-residents who spend much of their time in Ocean View, who pay property taxes here and are committed to the well-being of this community; such folks may deserve a vote.

On the other hand, there are those non-residents who may own property here, may not spend much time here but consider Ocean View an investment and the well-being of the community runs a far second to their own economic interest; such folks do not deserve a vote in Ocean View.

There is no voter registration test that can distinguish between these two types of non-residents. However, there is a test to gauge the commitment one has to a community and that test is residency. The governance of this town should rely not on those who spend some (if any) of their time here or even those who spend much of their time here, but rather on those who spend most of their time here.

Governance should depend on those who are here year-round and who are committed to making Ocean View the attraction that it is for those who want to drop in when the weather is warm.

Non-residents voting in local elections is not a Delaware phenomenon, and the arguments against it apply in any municipality:

Because the proposed initiative would allow a property owner the right to vote even if one never stepped foot in Ocean View, such a situation might entail a non-resident property’s voting agenda is dictated solely based on financial interests.

Residential interests ought to always trump financial interests as they pertain to the process of self-governance.

Issues which individuals vote about would no longer necessarily be considered in light of one’s role in the community, but possibly only in regard to financial interests. When a voter is no longer committed to the culture of the community, the risk is the unraveling of the social fabric which sustains a healthy and viable community.

If voter qualification is extraneous to primary residency and the only qualification for voter registration is contribution to the town’s coffers, why arbitrarily stop with property taxes? Why should property owners be granted special voting rights over individuals who commute and work in Ocean View? Or, those individuals who simply visit Ocean View and spend their dollars here?

In addition to these general reasons why non-residents should not be allowed to vote in local elections, there are specific reasons why the town council should vote against such a proposition at this time and in this place.

First, the argument is made that 70 percent of the revenue of the town comes from non-residents. Such a bald assertion should not be taken as gospel and it is difficult to square this assertion with the town’s 2009 budget. Furthermore, this argument fails to take into consideration the added cost of allowing non-residents to vote, much less the cost of campaigning.

Second, if one accepts the economist’s notion that we all act in our own self interest, there is no rational reason why those with the power to vote should dilute that power by enlarging the number of voters.

Finally, and perhaps the most compelling argument, is why now? After years of turmoil on the Ocean View Town Council, things were beginning to simmer down. (Likewise on the Bear Trap Board of Directors.) All of a sudden, it is as if someone threw a hand grenade into the too peaceful of a setting. Now the council is riled, Bear Trap is riled and the community of Ocean View is riled.

None of these groups need to be riled at this point. If there are compelling arguments to be made in favor of the proposition, those arguments should be given time to take root and evolve; such a monumental decision should not be suggested one month and decided the next. Why the rush to judgment on a decision that would effect the Town of Ocean View for many years to come?

In this debate, it is not the obligation of the town council to defend the rights of its citizens to govern themselves. Rather, the burden of persuasion is on those who seek the right to participate in governing the town. The well-intentioned but unconvincing arguments thus far proffered do not sustain that burden, and the town council should bring the town back to its steady course by voting against any proposition that extends voting rights to non-residents.

John F. Robbert
Jane F. Robbert
Ocean View