Letters - July 22, 2005

People can be heard on traffic concerns

Citizens of Dagsboro who are concerned and worried about traffic and the risk of over-development need to attend the next meeting of the Dagsboro Town Council on Monday, July 25, at 7 p.m. in the Bethel Center, next to the Bethel United Methodist Church on Clayton Street.

This will be your only chance to be heard on two proposed developments: (1) a 513-unit development (General’s Green) on land formerly owned by the Layfield family, with entrances on Clayton and Main Streets; and (2) an 88-unit development (Pepper Creek Village) on land formerly owned by the Tingle family on South Main Street, near the old Indian River High School.

If you cannot attend in person, please consider writing a letter to express your opinion to the Dagsboro Town Council, P.O. Box 420, Dagsboro. This is your only chance to be heard — until the town election for three council seats (now held by Brad Connor, James Kollock and Clay Hall) in December 2005.

Cindy Quillen

Sen. Adams and the Sussex County Council

When recently asked about concerns Sussex County residents were expressing regarding the county overdevelopment Sen. Thurman Adams replied, “Most of them (resort area residents), or at least most of the ones who are talking about it, have been here four or five years. They forgot what brought them here and they are trying to make Sussex County like the places they came from.”

It would seem however that Sen. Adams needs to be reminded it’s the Sussex County Council majority and not the county residents that have doing their best (or worst), to make Sussex County like the overdeveloped cities areas these residents came from.

Moreover, it is not just new coastal residents that are concerned with what is happening to the county.

A recent survey taken by Rep. Joe Booth indicated 70 percent of his constituents favored revamping the Sussex County Council, with little difference being noted between the responses of his central Sussex constituents and those in the Lewes area on this issue.

Since a portion of Booth’s constituents are also Thurman Adams’ constituents, perhaps the good senator should be paying more attention as many of these mid-county voters are longtime county residents as well.

The senator also needs to be reminded that about two years ago (May ’03) Joe Conaway, previous Sussex County administrator and now mayor and fellow Bridgeville resident of Sen. Adams, ranted and railed against the unappreciative “new people” who were concerned about inadequate representation on the county council.

He framed the issue at the time as one between new people and outsiders vs. everybody else (read long-time county residents). He continued with that argument until it was pointed out that Washington, D.C., newspapers were currently running sales ads for town houses located on Long Neck Road, “just 30 minutes from the beach.”

The observation was then made that it seemed quite hypocritical for Mr. Conaway to be castigating the “new” people who came down here asking for better representation when he, as a practicing Realtor, was actively supporting the very builders and developers that were encouraging these “new” people to come and live in eastern Sussex.

The point being that Sen. Adams’ 2005 comments segmenting anyone who objects to what is happening to Sussex County sound hauntingly similar to Mayor Conaway’s 2003 comments, and are as unsubstantiated today as his were then.

The concern for most of us is that while Conaway is a mayor of one town, Adams is Senate president pro-tem for the entire state. That they seem to share seemingly such biased and parochial views on how to handle Sussex County’s biggest problem is quite disturbing.

For instance, Sen. Adams gave the following as one of his excuses for withholding SB 100 (HB 170’s companion bill) from a senate vote: “Right now the Democrats control the council. If one of the elections last year had gone the other way, I don’t think we’d be hearing this now. But since the Democrats control the Senate we are not going to open the door to let the other side take the council.”

Aside from the fact that most powerful legislator in the state allows himself to get embroiled in a partisan county council political issue while disregarding his greater responsibility to 170,000 Sussex residents, this explanation doesn’t suffice on several counts.

The effort to get better representation for Sussex is a non-partisan effort, not a partisan one as Sen. Adams and opponents of HB 170 and SB 100 would have you believe.

For example, the 34 House representatives that passed HB 170 consisted of members from both parties, as did the four members who voted against the bill consist of members from both parties as well.

How much more non-partisan can a vote get? Those four members did have one thing in common, however, as they were all from the western part of the county, the same as Sen. Adams and Mayor Conaway.

The 2004 election Sen. Adams referred to, in which incumbent Lynn Rogers defeated the challenger Jud Bennett by three votes out of over 17,000 votes, would not have put this issue at rest even if the vote had gone the other way.

That’s because Bennett’s election by itself would not have changed the council’s voting dynamics enough to affect the final vote outcome on the critical issues. That’s due to the irony that one Republican on the council, Vance Phillips, almost always votes with the three Democrats on most development issues, creating a 4 -1 majority.

Bennett’s election could have made it a 3-2 majority on some of those development votes but the outcome would be the same. Sen. Adams is well aware of how Councilman Philips votes in these situations and thus knows partisan politics is not what drives the Sussex County Council development decisions.

It becomes increasingly clear that the Sussex land-management problem is not a partisan Democratic vs. Republican issue, it is not a new resident vs. long time-resident issue nor is it east vs. west county issue.

These are nothing more than smokescreens being blown at the rest of us by council members, the PGA and a few legislators in an effort to divert our attention from what has always been the real cause of Sussex over-development — that is, the council members themselves.

We need look no further for the major culprits in this charade called Sussex County land management. While councilmen Dukes, Rogers, Jones and Phillips were busy approving pro-development decisions, their personal businesses were busy selling building material, signage, metal products and real estate, respectively, to developers, builders and other contractors involved in those developments they were approving.

Whether that constitutes chargeable conflict of interest I will leave to those better qualified than I to decide. In essence, the residents of the county can trace our crisis directly to the insatiable greed of those gentlemen.

But, why in the world, as the Senate leader and the most powerful legislator in the state, did Thurman Adams ever allow himself to become embroiled in county politics, first by refusing to let his fellow senators decide the fate of SB 100 rather than substituting his own bias for their 20 votes — and then by trying to provide “cover” for the current county council members with such transparent excuses?

It seems he greatly damages his own credibility as well as the reputation of the position he holds by doing so.

Allen Ide

Reader happy that ABCC made decision

I would like to applaud the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission on their wise and correct decision to grant a tavern license for Scotty’s Tavern in West Fenwick Station on Route 54.

A local tavern is as American as baseball, apple pie and the stars and stripes.

For those who may object on religious grounds to a local place to imbibe in peace, I refer them to the Bible: “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more…” — (Proverbs 31:06-07).

Tom Neidenbach

Thank you DelDOT for new traffic light

This past spring, DelDOT installed a new light at West Avenue and Route 26 in Ocean View. Green left-turn arrows were added at the same time, for traffic traveling in both directions on West and Central avenues.

This past Friday, we had a traffic accident (with injuries) at Woodland and SR26, as a motorist attempted to cross SR26. These improvements may cause a minute or two delay, but it sure is comforting to me to be able to get onto or across SR 26 in a safe manner.

Thank you Mr. Hayward and the entire DelDOT staff.

Bill Wichman
Ocean View

ACTS fills many needs to community

Are you aware that ACTS (Atlantic Community Thrift Shop) is much more than a place to recycle clothing and furniture?

The store in Clarksville also provides community support far beyond personal garments and household goods. For instance, in June, ACTS funded advertisements on WGMD (Delmarva’s News and Information Station, 92.7 F.M.) to support WGMD’s Alcohol and Drug Addiction campaign.

Through local volunteer Steve Rapley, a partnership between ACTS and WGMD was set up to advertise Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church’s Celebrate Recovery program. Celebrate Recovery operates through God’s healing power as the group learns and practices eight recovery principles and twelve Christ-centered steps.

The two-hour program, designed for anyone with any kind of hurt, habit, or hang-ups, includes songs, prayer, sharing, questions and fellowship. Sometimes a testimony is given, other times a concept such as denial or forgiveness is presented and discussed. The group is divided into male and female groups. Babysitting is provided at no cost.

Thanks to ACTS, WGMD and Steve, but most of all thanks to each of you who come to Mariner’s at 81 Central Avenue (corner of Route 26 and Central Avenue) in Ocean View on Friday nights from 7 to9 p.m. to check out Celebrate Recovery.

Mary Ann Starita