Letters - July 1, 2005
Safety for our summer visitors is needed
Everyone I talk to enjoys the summer visitors, many from other countries, who come to Sussex County to work for the summer — a needed influx of hard workers and joyful young people.
Everyone I talk to also is appalled at the lack of safety precautions taken by these young people (as well as those of us who should know better).
It is a harrowing experience to have to watch your car’s right-hand mirror, even when in a right turn lane, in fear that a cyclist will ride up next to you. It is sobering to watch cyclists riding on the wrong side of the road, seemingly oblivious of cars that might be turning in their paths.
It was scary last week watching a skateboarder riding down Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View, weaving back and forth, taking up an entire lane, on the wrong side of the road.
It is disheartening that so many of the cyclists do not wear helmets. Delaware’s “live free or die” attitude on helmet wearing is contributing to injuries and death. Suggesting that Delaware adopt a helmet law, like its neighbor, Maryland, would be an exercise in futility.
So what do we do? Newspapers and TV notices make no difference. Almost none of our visitors will read this letter — many work two jobs so they can get through their next year of school.
But there must be some way to deal with this problem.
How about if the agency in charge of bringing these young folks to this country educated them on safety and made bike helmets available free or at a very small charge? How about if their employers educate them and offer helmets? How about if the police take steps to educate the young people and offer helmets? How about if bike shops chip in and offer free or low-cost helmets?
Maybe each one of us can be responsible citizens and educate the young people we see every day.
DelDOT official has his say on information
With recent public discussions occurring about how the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) deals with requests for information from the public, now is a good time to let residents know how this process works.
DelDOT operates on the initial assumption that documents are public. Certainly, there are times we will not release material for a variety of reasons. Those instances, however, are rare, while thousands of other times we provide the public and press information they have requested.
Of the 41 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests DelDOT’s legal office worked on so far in 2005, only a few were denied outright, and some were deferred.
The deferred responses include the two referenced in News Journal articles. The denied requests included a newspaper request for personnel records and a newspaper request to access private information of vanity license plate owners.
Let’s be clear about who actually submits FOIA requests. Seven of the 41 were from newspapers/reporters, 19 appear to be from lawyers.
It appears that a handful were from individual residents, requesting everything from plans for Route 13 and Tharp Road to accident data.
Our policy is to respond within 10 days of receiving a FOIA request, but we don’t require a letter writer, phone caller or e-mailer to mention the word FOIA. We treat every question from every person with the same degree of urgency, and get the information to people as soon as possible.
The fact is the DelDOT Public Relations office handles hundreds of requests for information daily from the media, residents, elected officials and others.
In Public Relations alone, we handled so far this year 1,800 calls or e-mails requesting information on a variety of topics. Our administrative specialists answer as many as 100 calls a day from residents, regarding everything from pot holes to construction projects.
Our policy is to get them to the person or agency that can help them, or take their information and get answers for them. That means we immediately track down the information and get back to the caller. Also to date, we have answered almost 200 letters, with the requirement that each provide detailed responses within 10 days.
In addition to resident requests for information, a large part of Public Relations staff’s job is to get information to journalists. There are more than 30 media outlets (TV, radio, daily and weekly newspapers) in the state and we receive five to 20 requests daily for information.
Typically, reporters, unlike residents, demand information (and we don’t require a FOIA request) that day. The information can be as simple as providing construction project costs or as complicated as gathering Sussex County budget authorizations in the last five years.
We are accessible, responsive and efficient to the public and to the press. As a state agency, we expect to take criticism and sometimes it’s deserved. If we make a mistake we admit it.
Whenever I talk to residents, I urge them to call regarding any concern. I know my staff in Public Relations works very hard to uphold those high standards. I want people to know we do care and do listen, even if we disagree in the end.
For more on this topic, go to www.deldot.gov/static/news/foia/index.shtml.
Manager, Public Relations
Local business helping out with Alex’s cause
Almost everyone knows someone, whether it’s a relative or a friend, who is suffering from some form of cancer. It is even sadder when it is childhood cancer.
Although I don’t directly know anyone with childhood cancer, I heard this heart wrenching story about Alex and was personally inspired to help her.
As co-owner of Tropical Treats, where our best-selling product is freshly squeezed lemonade, I thought this would be a great way to reach out to help and host an Alex’s Lemonade Stand in our community. Our store attracts a lot of children and this will be a great way to encourage and educate them to raise money for childhood cancer.
We feel that if an 8-year-old little girl who was battling cancer can take the time to think about others before herself, this is a major commitment and statement for the public.
With the main goal in mind — improving and saving the lives of children battling cancer — we hope to raise $5,000 for Alex’s fund, and help achieve her goal of $5 million in 2005.
With the help of our community, we encourage everyone to come out and enjoy freshly squeezed lemonade to donate to Alex. Together, even “slower lower Delaware” can make a difference, one cup at a time. Thanks, hope to see you all there.
‘And the truth shall set you free’
As the Fourth of July approaches, I wish to offer your readers a dose of truth.
I mentioned in the other letter that the taxes collected by Ocean View are illegal. I know you will get a heated letter stating I do not know what I am speaking about, I am full of it, and other harsh words.
Some of your readers are aware I am researching the constitution and by necessity, history, for a book I want to write titled “Government Abuses of the Constitution.”
Transfer taxes. Does anyone have the right to tell you where you can or cannot live? Is our community a restricted community denying entrance? If you do not pay us for the privilege to live here, then you cannot buy here? Is this still America?
I am saddened to say we no longer live in the land of the free. By charging an illegal “transfer tax” we are being informed we do not have the right as Americans to live where we want. There is a word that covers this. It is call extortion. And it is a crime. To practice it, or conspire for it, is also a crime. Who wants to guess at our founding fathers’ thoughts on this tyranny?
Property taxes. Who owns your land, your house? The bank? According to many elected, it is whichever level of government that taxes you on it. Land ownership in America is a thing of the past. Demanding property taxes is extortion. Pay or else!
Let’s ask our forefathers what they think. They fought a revolution because…
Liberty! Freedom! No taxes! (Except those specifically listed). Come and go as they pleased, live where they want, all without the government saying things such as “you cannot own land.” That is what they rebelled from, so how did it ever come to pass that every year we have to pay rent to the government for the right to call our land “ours.”
To tax us, and then threaten to take our property away if we do not comply, is extortion. If an individual did this they would go to jail. So our government is allowed to commit crimes? How did this ever happen? Who is in charge?
Do you know the last words of the Pledge of Allegiance? “With liberty and justice for all!”
The Declaration of Independence was the document that stated we, as a people, were fed up with the tyrannies of the king (think whichever level of government you wish) dictating to us and denying our liberties (freedoms). “We hold these truths to be self evident… among these (implying many others not listed) are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…” The power to govern is derived from the governed.
Now this is easy to understand.
1. We, the people. (We are in charge and we decide.)
2. Insure domestic tranquility. (Our choices are to be honored and upheld.)
3. Secure liberty (freedom of choice).
Would we insure tranquility by stealing the people’s rights?
Further, the Constitution as it was written calls for only two forms of taxation: a tariff and an excise tax (similar to a sales tax). Congress could levy a capitation tax once every 10 years in conjunction with the census. Justice, you ask? Is it justice when you lose your property for failing to comply with the demand of extortion? Is it justice to be dictated to and your wishes ignored?
So what’s the point? I wanted the oath of office for all elected, appointed and volunteering to include the oath the president takes. It basically states, “I, (your name) do solemnly swear, that I will uphold, protect and defend the Constitution…” The point is no one can usurp our rights.
As I have stated, every elected official who takes the oath of office is guaranteeing to uphold and protect your liberty. They cannot deviate. If they do, they have forsaken the office and can no longer act as someone holding that office.
Any law that is written, any tax that is collected, must first be scrutinized so it cannot violate our freedoms. Anyone that does not uphold your rights is guilty of committing the crime of malfeasance as well as civil rights violations.
Liberty is the word that means freedom of choice. Freedom of movement. Where to live without penalty, ownership of property (the Constitution says we are to be safe in our persons and possessions), etc. We like to say we are the “land of the free…”
Sorry, according to many of the elected we are the “land of the used to be free!”
OK, so how was government run?
Their “elected” were their servants. They did not do their own will, their own decisions. They implemented the decisions of the people who elected them (government by the people). They decided at town meetings, with the vote, a consensus. They decided how much money to spend and how to spend it, not the servants. They decided their future, not the servants, then sent a representative to the next level with instructions.
It is we who decide. It is our right to decide, not our servants to decide for us. For example, if we decide we will stick with a well and not go with town water, they must honor our choice. Our servants have no choice but to make it happen. They cannot violate their oath or our liberty. If they refuse to do our bidding, they have committed a crime and they are out.
So how did we end up with their attitude, their continual attempt to dictate? Just like most other things, it happened slowly with bad laws from our servants, people acting for their own best interest, and no one challenged them. It started a hundred-plus years ago, with corrupt judges thrown in.
The Civil Rights Act of 1968 has made it possible to correct some problems. The answer is: we, the people, need to elect only those who will obey and protect our rights. Recall those who do not. Bring lawsuits if necessary. Demand our servants do our bidding, not what they think best.
Amend the Constitution to conform to its intent such as eliminate the 16th and 17th amendments. Place into being caps on spending. The senate votes itself a raise and a $1.5 million per year pension? The local level passes ordinances to limit your ability to vote? Then lie to us saying “God bless America, the land of the Free?”
Start demanding your rights or lose them forever. Have a happy, healthy July 4th!
Bright line has been drawn between parties
I, for one, think it extremely fortunate that Sen. Durbin, a Democrat, has publicly implied that the actions of our country and our military are equivalent to the institutionalized policies of wholesale mass murder by the most despicable and brutal regimes one can imagine during the 20th century.
It is fortunate because it has now drawn a bright line between those Americans who are willing to sacrifice for their country and those who will do or say anything for personal political gain.
Is there a single Democrat who will come forth to rebuke such slanderous anti-American rhetoric? Apparently not in Delaware and apparently not in the nation.
As I write this letter, a full week after Durbin’s public observations, neither Sen. Biden nor Sen. Carper have issued a statement of censure for such outrageous remarks by their colleague.
This would not seem to bode well as a start for a presidential campaign by the former. The latter, having served in the military must know better but is cowed by his political party. All-in-all, a disgraceful and problematic situation is being fostered by our two senators.
Those in ranking political positions within the Democrat Party representing Delaware who do not publicly speak out against such contemptible allegations should be aware that through their silence they condone it. They and their party members become a part of the inflammatory rhetoric that aids and abets the enemy.
As for individual citizens, at this point they can easily grasp the dividing line between the two political parties and it will be continue to be evident as they prepare to cast their next vote.
There are few among us who want to be painted by the brush that denigrates our nation and our soldiers. Apologies will not undo the worldwide damage caused by Durbin’s allegations and the pusillanimous actions of Delaware’s senators.
Richard L. Spencer
Foundation thanks community for help
The tournament planning committee for the Quiet Resorts Golf Classic would like to thank the many businesses, individual donors and golfers who helped make our first annual tournament such a success.
Held under a perfect sky on June 9, the tournament raised over $20,000 for the Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation and the William O. Murray Scholarship Endowment Fund that is administered by the foundation.
The foundation operates an annual scholarship program through the local schools. This year it awarded over $8,000 in new scholarships and $3,000 in renewal scholarships at graduation ceremonies held at our local high schools this spring.
The proceeds from this tournament help ensure that next year’s deserving seniors and those college students returning to school can continue their studies at the college or university of their choosing.
The generosity of the businesses and citizens in our coastal home cannot be overstated.
From our tournament sponsor, Ocean View Plumbing & Heating, to the generous support provided by major donors including Mercantile Peninsula Bank, Sallie Mae Fund, All State’s Construction Co. Inc., and Weather or Not Construction, to our major donors including JUD & S, Sunrise Real Estate, Sysco, Sunny Day Magazine, 5 Guys, Wilmington Trust, Bramhall & Hitchen Insurance, Coastal Point, Vicki York, Creative Resource Group, Bank of Delmarva, Bayside Resort, Cottage Café and Baja Beach House Grill, we thank each of you.
We also extend a sincere thank you to our 38 tee sponsors and we are glad your businesses have enjoyed increased exposure as a result of your generosity.
Our gratitude to the community would not be complete without acknowledging the leadership and spirit provided by the tournament co-chairs, Rick Hundley and Brent Poffenberger. Their commitment to the foundation and its mission of improving the quality of life in our area is an inspiration to each of us who now call the Quiet Resorts home.
We thank the planning committee members, event volunteers and the very professional food/beverage and golf staff at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club who worked tirelessly throughout the day.
Lastly, without the 100 golfers who played for a great cause, we would not have had a tournament. We thank each of you and invite you to save the date for next year’s tournament, June 8, 2006.
Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation
Mayor thankful for fireworks help
I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Hughes, secretary of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources, on behalf of all of Bethany Beach’s residents and visitors who will enjoy our July 4 fireworks display.
Simply put, without John’s help we would not be having fireworks this July 4!
The Town of Bethany Beach was subjected to an unusual series of late spring nor’easters that seriously depleted our beaches. The town was faced with the dilemma of not having enough beach to shoot our fireworks display from. (State regulations require 200 feet of open space between our discharge area and structures.)
When notified in late June that we did not have enough beach for our show, our fireworks contractor agreed to shoot the show from a barge, but was unable to locate a tugboat to bring the barge to Bethany Beach on such short notice.
Things were looking very bleak at the close of business on June 24 for our July 4 fireworks show. Fate then smiled on the town, when later in the evening of June 24, I attended a function where Secretary Hughes was also present.
When Secretary Hughes heard of our dilemma, he immediately responded and began calling some of his many friends and associates made in his four decades of dealing with coastal and marine issues in the State of Delaware.
At the request of Secretary Hughes, Captain Hicks Rowland of Wilmington Tug graciously agreed to supply a tug on short notice, making our July 4 fireworks show a reality.
So again, a big thanks to you, Secretary Hughes, for caring enough to get involved and lending a helping hand. All of us who will enjoy our fireworks display this year owe you a debt of gratitude.
John D. Walsh
Mayor, Bethany Beach