Letters to the Editor -- July 3, 2009

Legion looking for support with donations

We the American Legion Post #24 are collecting donations. The donations will be used for a camping weekend hosted at Trapp Pond. The camping weekend is in support of Unit 262, which is in training to go overseas to Iraq in July.

The children of the enlisted men and women of this unit will be participating in this weekend. This will give the children the opportunity to meet other children who have been separated from their parents due to service our country.

The volunteers will all be from Sussex County American Legions. These volunteers will spend time with the children, doing canoeing fishing, nature walks and other various activities.

We just want these children to know they are not alone and we are there for them. It’s our way of supporting our troops.

If you would like to contribute, with funds, donations or your time, it would greatly be appreciated. You may contact the American Legion Post 24 Service Officer Gary Moore at (302) 732-3120.

Thank you for your support.
Roland Placante, 1st Vice Commander
American Legion Post #24, Dagsboro

Let’s have a safe and fun July 4th

Independence Day is upon us! The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pa. The first celebration consisted of our citizenry ringing bells, lighting candles, firing guns and shooting fireworks into the evening skies.

These days, many people still celebrate the Fourth of July in style, with family picnics, watermelon-eating contests, historical re-enactments and sparkler lightings; however, there are a few of us that take this holiday to the extreme by drinking alcohol and then driving on our public roads. Not only is this behavior irresponsible, but it is also illegal for teenagers under 21 and adults over .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).

Do everyone in Delaware a favor this year by hailing a cab or designating a sober driver if you choose to celebrate with a few ales. Let’s choose to reduce drinking and driving fatalities and injuries in 2009!

Buckle up and have a spectacular Independence Day!

Merritt Burke IV, Community Traffic Safety Program Coordinator
University of Delaware Cooperative Extension

Local girls thankful for support in effort

Thank you for supporting our girls!! We all made it to Seattle, Wash., and finished the race in honor of our Elizabeth Shoemaker. What a great day! Elizabeth’s spirit is with us and always will be. We love and miss her.

Katelyn King
Morgan Sheats
Jordan Warrington
Catie Cummings
Sarah Shoemaker
Zoe Jurisik
Kelly Jurisik

Reader questions benefit of casino effort

This is in response to the June 26 article in the Coastal Point about the new citizens group promoting DelPointe. Instead of just parroting what “representatives” say, I suggest doing some research. The Internet is full of articles on many projects just like DelPointe in neighboring states.

The big selling point always seems to be jobs and revenue for the state. The promise is for 6,000 construction jobs, as well as an additional 2,000 at the facility.

Are these construction jobs to be at the going rate in the county? There is never a mention as to what the pay range will be for the permanent jobs. Will Sussex county residents have first crack at these jobs? Are the members of this new group going to fill these positions or do they expect our high school graduates to work at them? Should our children work hard in school and graduate to fill a position as a housekeeper or maintenance worker?

To quote Bridgeville Mayor Joe Conaway, “We have the highest out migration of young people in the… country”. “They don’t stay here because they can’t make any money. You can’t buy a house on $12 an hour. We don’t have a professional class, and we need to do something about it.”

According to this new group, DelPointe would solidify Sussex County by establishing a national vacation experience. Additionally, it was stated that there were hopes that it would bring business to the resort communities, as well as provide them off-season income.

The developers of DelPointe have their own interests in mind with the proposed resort, as they should. They plan to invest over a half-billion dollars on the project. With their marketing, the intent will be to direct the visitor to spend all their time and money at the resort.

The proposal is for a racetrack, hotel, retail with residential units, restaurants, casino, an indoor water park, a 12-plex movie theater, an indoor sports complex and a paintball park. Looks like the plan is to make Del Pointe the destination and to give their guests no reason to go elsewhere while visiting Sussex County. The resort will have a negative impact on the beach communities, not help them.

Why do politicians, as well as the public, have a knee-jerk reaction to the addition of slots in Maryland? Neighboring states are fighting to keep their gambling revenues at home. The more we push, the more Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey will push back.

We need more jobs and the state needs money, but we shouldn’t sacrifice the quality of life in Delaware as a whole. As citizens of Sussex County, we should demand that our leaders look at more constructive and imaginative ways to bring skilled and higher-paying, rather than low-paying hospitality, jobs to our area.

Remember – once we go forward, it will be impossible to go back, and we will lose what we now have forever.

Thomas J. Uss

NARFE believes many are unaware of benefits

What happens to us when we retire? Do we then think that our income and health benefits are going to take care of themselves? No, we don’t just turn our IRA over to an account executive and say here it is, don’t bother me. We check the monthly statements to assure that the investments are being properly attended to and if we see a problem, we contact funds manager.

Then why is it that so many federal retirees feel that they don’t have to keep track of what the Congress is doing with their earned retirement benefits? It isn’t rational that these former federal employees spend their retirement years wearing blindfolds regarding their earned benefits when they know how the Congress looks for the path of least resistance when it comes to cutting the deficit.

While it is true that the deficit is now being totally ignored in an attempt to stimulate the economy, does anyone think that the day of reckoning is far off?

They need to know that Congress will not make cuts in Social Security benefits that would affect too many voters, but federal retirees are a much easier target. Just look at what they did when they bailed Social Security out in the late 1970’s. They virtually eliminated any benefit from Social Security for Civil Service Retirement System retirees.

I have to think that most do not realize that they can be kept up to date on pending legislation that may affect their retirement for less that the cost of a couple coffees per month.

In addition, they would be assisting the only lobbying association dedicated to the improvement and preservation of their retirement. It is a mystery to me as to why so many retired federal employees are not members of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees’ Association, NARFE.

Walt Berwick

Gamblers can losee their shirts in Delaware

As reported in the New Jersey Star-Ledger on May 24, 2009, by Mike Frassinelli, Sands Bethlehem becomes the eighth casino to open in Pennsylvania since the state legalized slots gambling in 2004. Sands Bethlehem’s future plans for a full-blown project with a shopping mall, convention center and 10-story hotel have been put on hold until the economy improves.

Last month, Atlantic City’s 11 casinos earned 14.2 percent less revenue than they did the previous April, at the same time that revenue rose by 13.8 percent in Pennsylvania’s slots parlors – as that state continued to expand its largely regional clientele. Two more casinos are planned for the Philadelphia waterfront.

On Sunday June 7, 2009, The Associated Press reported that Joe Weinert, a casino analyst with Spectrum Gaming Group, said, “Just as we are seeing with slot machines, many gamblers will forego Atlantic City to play blackjack and craps at a more convenient location,” he said. “Table games are an inevitability in Pennsylvania.”

It appears that as the stakes increase, each state – New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland – will do whatever it takes to hold onto the gambling money of the citizens of their states.

I was a resident of New Jersey at the time that developers promised the voters that gambling in Atlantic City would revitalize the city and bring jobs and revenue to the state. The developers got rich and state spending increased, as did state income taxes and real estate taxes for the citizens of New Jersey.

No one can claim today that it resulted in Atlantic City’s redevelopment as a destination or produced anything of value. It did lead to the financial ruin of many who believed they could beat the house at its own game.

Today, in Sussex County, our representatives – Booth, Atkins and Schwartzkopf – are promising jobs from the DelPointe developers. Sadly, these same representatives looked on as widespread housing developments grew in our communities, not based on demand or the median salary of the local population but on promises of revenue streams.

Too bad we didn’t have any market studies to show the demand for housing in Delaware. Oh, I know: Build it and they will come.

As reported by Dan Shortridge in The News Journal, House Bill 194 sponsored by House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf was being pushed for a hearing this week. He said he isn’t hoping to win full legislative approval, just wants it to come out of committee and be ready to go if Gov. Markell calls a special legislative session later this year to address table gaming.

It was also reported that the developer of DelPointe, Preston Schell, doesn’t want to wait for the report commissioned by the state that would show the impact to the three existing casinos in Delaware of adding new casino locations.

Concerned citizens of Sussex County would like the report to show the impact of increased crime, housing boom and bust once Maryland and Pennsylvania add gaming tables. How about the eventuality of casinos in Ocean City? Now that’s a destination for Las Vegas of the East.

Jill Uss

State should focus on cutting spending
Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to Delaware’s senators and representatives and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

Please add my voice to the mounting state budget concerns. It is not what new tax revenues you can implement that is going to, long term, assist us back into fiscal balance but, more importantly, what spending you can cut.

We can do with less. My family does, and so can the State!

Strive and focus to repress and discipline state spending, spend less time and effort seeking ways to raise revenues and potentially impairing this fragile economy.

I encourage readers to voice there concerns with there legislators.

Tom Ford
President, Land Design Inc.

Reader believes state’s on the right track

During these challenging times, it is encouraging to see our own governor working hard not only to respond to our economic difficulties but to look ahead to ways Delaware can lead.

I was impressed to read his address of June 6 (in Philadelphia, to various government officials, corporate leaders and scholars), related to the future of solar energy. More and more, I respect Gov. Markell for being a leader rather than a follower.

In his address, he stressed the importance of ensuring that America produces “clean tech” innovations so that our nation “does not trade its addiction to Saudi oil for dependence on Chinese solar panels.”

Evidently, the governor wishes to transform Delaware into one of the top markets per capita for renewable energy in the U.S. We should applaud his efforts to stimulate government and business to work together not only to solve some problems but to build a better future.

I’m sure all of us realize that political leaders are beset with tough decisions to make. Markell’s commitment to diversity, economic growth and fiscal management are among the reasons I feel better about what is happening in Delaware.

Now, if we could just do something about the poor roads and the constant disruption of traffic flow in New Castle County.

Larry W. Peterson