Letters to the Editor -- May 16, 2008

Dukes disects impact on county governments

Recently, I was elected president of the Delaware Association of Counties. This organization comprises the County Councils and Levy Courts from all three Delaware counties. It is a great forum for the three counties and their elected officials to swap notes, share ideas and talk about the issues of the day as they relate to county government.

At one of our recent meetings, the topic of most concern was the possibility of cuts to the realty transfer tax, the 3 percent levy attached to most property transactions. Funding from the tax is shared among the State, counties and municipalities — 1.5 percent to the State, the other 1.5 percent to either the county or town where the property is located.

Of great concern to local officials is recent talk of reducing the local share of the realty transfer tax, and how each county would deal with cuts to such an important and vital revenue stream for local governments.

I asked each county administrator to take a moment and list possible programs or services — even those in which we partner with the State — that would have to be eliminated or reduced if the transfer tax is cut.

The results are sobering.

In Sussex County, county government would be forced to cut about $4.5 million from the annual budget. This could potentially consist of cuts to our program to fund additional state police, the Sussex Conservation District, the University of Delaware Extension Service, local law enforcement revenue sharing with all municipalities, open space protection, sewer grants and expansion of the County airport.

These are a few of the many important programs we would have to seriously examine, and possibly reduce or cut altogether, in order to balance our budget.

In Kent County, some tough decisions would have to be made there, too. County officials there tell me that they would have to reduce $1.8 million from their budget or increase taxes 14 percent. Such items they would consider removing are funding for AgLand Preservation, dog control, grants to the fire service, the Conservation District, the University of Delaware and the Delaware Economic Development Office.

And the news is no different in New Castle County. County officials would have to cut more than $5 million out of their budget or raise taxes 6.3 percent. The cuts they would look at include funding for such basic needs as police officers, paramedic staffing, the county’s share to fund local emergency management, grants to fire companies and libraries, and other types of grants.

It’s clear that essential, locally provided services that the public depends upon might well suffer at the expense of decisions made in Dover this legislative session. We do not want this to happen.

I have sent a letter to all members of the Delaware General Assembly, on behalf of the Delaware Association of Counties, stating the position of all three county governments. It is my hope that this will help remind our lawmakers how we spend the realty transfer tax revenue, and just what programs benefit from that funding — particularly those that allow us to partner with the state.

We very much appreciate the cooperation we routinely receive from members of the General Assembly, and we’re hopeful these facts will satisfy any questions they or the public might have as to how the counties spend the money we are permitted to receive. We look forward to that continued cooperation as all levels of government work through these tougher economic times.

Dale Dukes, Sussex County Council Member
President, Delaware Association of Counties

Brady continues contributions from afar

The recent letter from Harry Steele reminds me of another Harry: Harry S. “Give ’Em Hell” Truman.

Leo Brady
Bridgeville, Pa.
(Formerly of Bethany Beach)

McClenny grateful for support from many

During my ongoing medical problem the past six months, many friends and neighbors upheld me in prayer and sent me “get well” cards and wishes.
The cause of the problem was finally discovered and surgery was completed three weeks ago. I am now healing and hoping the headaches will completely disappear. As I return to my daily activities, it is important that these friends and neighbors receive my “thank you” for all they have done for Claudia and me during this difficult time.

Attached to this note are my warmest thanks to each of you.

Tony McClenny, Vice-Mayor
Bethany Beach

Town Cats thanks Banks for support

On the evening of May 1, the Parkway restaurant helped us celebrate our 10th anniversary by hosting a benefit for Bethany Town Cats.

We, the members of the organization, would like to express publicly our appreciation to Dana Banks, owner of the Parkway and the Royal Zephyr, for her generous contributions towards helping to control the feral cat population of Bethany Beach through a spaying and neutering program.

Thank you also to her Parkway staff, our many friends and supporters who attended the evening, and all the local businesses which allowed us to advertise the event.

Jack Reamy
Bethany Town Cats

Steele continues the verbal volleys

Dennis, a simple quote: “We can disagree, but you do not have to be disagreeable.” Attacking me personally does little to support your positions. Calling me a traitor to my union and then saying I am living off the fruits of my negotiations is a little over the top. Stick to the issues, not personalities!

Thus ends the discussions!

In my previous letters, I’ve tried to provide research where necessary to support my positions. So I am providing the following Web sites for those who wish to find out more and are willing to do a little research on their own. These Web sites will give you contrary information that the national media fails to report and, hopefully, will lead you to find out what else you are not being told. Then you will be better qualified to cast a more discerning vote:

www.michaelcrichton.com – Click on “speeches” and then you will have other choices to select. Crichton is a former liberal who set out to prove global warming was real but found the information was distorted for an agenda. A great book by Michael Crichton is “State of Fear.” A tremendous bibliography, even though the characters are fictitious, the information is not and is footnoted.

www.junkscience.com – Then click on “junk science” or “climate features” to be informed further. Also, there is information about the DDT hysteria created by Rachel Carson.

www.canadafreepress.com – If you click on “archives,” you will get different points of view than you are getting for the left.

www.heartland.org – Their banner will lead you to information about education, environment and health care.

www.timeswatch.org – “Documenting and Exposing the Liberal Political Agenda of the New York Times.”

www.mediaresearch.org – From the same group that investigates the NYT, only they investigate the National Liberal Media.

www.taxfoundation.org – “Devoted to educating taxpayers about tax policy and the total tax burden borne by Americans at all levels of government.”

www.boortz.com – A Libertarian radio commentator, his Web site is loaded with links to other sites. “More in Nealz Nuze” gives you his daily program notes.

Locally, listen to 92.7 FM, WGMD. On 1210 AM radio at 9 a.m. is a very entertaining show, Glenn Beck. He is on channel 35 on Mediacom cable at 7 p.m. and repeated at 9 p.m. And of course at noon on WGMD, the master who drives the “left” wild is Rush!

Harry Steele
Bethany Beach

Lewes resident supports Carney in race

John Carney has been at the forefront of the fight against cancer for years. Not only has he been working hard, but in part because of his leadership, our cancer rates in the state of Delaware are now falling at twice the national average.

All of us should be concerned about the air we breathe and our general health, and I believe that John will help us in making it a point to become healthier and remain healthy in our present and in our future.

John Carney recently received a national award for his work in the fight against cancer from the Society of Surgical Oncologists. This is a very prestigious award given each year to an individual who supports education and research in the field of cancer care and prevention.

Considering all that John Carney has done, it made it an easy choice for me to support him for governor.

J. Robert Woods

Hastings points out achievements of district

Largely overshadowed by the disturbing news of alleged misconduct by a now-suspended principal of Sussex Central High School are the educational accomplishments of the Indian River School District.

The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce recently announced eight winners in its 2008 Superstars in Education Awards program, two of which went to I-R schools. The awards, which have been referred to as the “Oscars” of Delaware’s schools, are intended to promote resourceful academic programs and share best practices in education.

Long Neck Elementary School in Millsboro was recognized for a program designed to cut the achievement gap among students. Under the program, teachers meet in teams regularly to discuss curriculum, grade assessments and lesson plans. While these “grade-level” educators are meeting, math and reading specialists briefly teach their classes, providing coverage during the sessions as well as expert help for students in core academic areas.

As the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce noted: “The results can be seen in Delaware Student Testing Program (DSTP) scores: In 2001, 35 percent of the total population taking the fifth grade DSTP did not meet the standards. In 2007, 95 percent of all students met or exceeded the standards on the DSTP.”

The Southern Delaware School of the Arts also drew recognition for its “Learning through the Arts — A Magnet School” program, which coordinates teaching strategies between arts and non-arts subjects that complement one another. The State Chamber sites the effective approach as one of the reasons why students at the Selbyville school consistently perform well on the DSTP.

As a former member of both the Indian River School Board and the State Board of Education, I’m very familiar with public education in Delaware. I hope all residents of the Indian River School District take some measure of pride in the laudable achievements of the district and the efforts of its teachers and administrators to help our students reach their full potential.

State Rep. Greg Hastings

Markell gets union support in race

I would like to introduce you to Mr. Jack Markell, Democratic candidate for governor. He is the only candidate for governor that will bring about the bold change Delaware needs for a bright future.

It’s obvious we can’t keep going in the direction we’re headed. Mr. Markell is far from the typical politician. All anyone has to do is observe what he has done, not only for the State of Delaware, but for individuals during the past 10 years as state treasurer.

He will work hard to help all working men and women. Mr. Markell will work to address the many needs and problems facing the hard-working people of Delaware, such as ensuring everyone has affordable, high-quality health care and by creating 25,000 jobs in his first term.

He will work hard to address the concerns of wages, job security, and safety and health in the work place. Jack knows how to build successful businesses that create thousands of jobs, and he respects the hard-working men and women who fill those jobs and wants to see them paid a fair wage.

We, as organized labor, “traditionally” vote as a block. However, there are times when a vote for a “specific” candidate is a better choice. That time is now, Sept. 9, 2008, vote for Jack Markell for governor — a candidate for all Delawareans.

In closing, please log on to www.markell.org and read in detail Mr. Markell’s proposals for a better Delaware. A vote for “Jack” in the Democratic primary on Sept. 9, 2008, is the right vote for working men and women of this great state.

W. Donald (Don) Poore, Harrington
Past Shop Steward, Vice-President,
President of UAW Local 1516
Johnson Controls Inc. (formerly Globe Union) and Retired Safety/Health Compliance Officer U.S. Dept. of Labor/Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA)