Letters to the Editor — Dec. 1, 2017

Date Published: 
December 1, 2017

Reader demands more from County officials

Editor:

For all practical purposes, any and all new construction within Sussex County must be approved by the county council. It follows from this truism that Sussex County government bears sole responsibility for 15 years of aimless, uncontrolled and unplanned development sprawl that today threatens to ruin our quality of life.

Despite this reality, state and county officials steadfastly and unabashedly heap blame for our present-day tsunami of new construction on:

• Residents who failed to oversee in a vigilant manner requests for building permits and land use;

• Residents who failed to understand the intricacies of DELDOT rules and regulations.

The most recent reactions to present-day circumstances are: I am open to new ideas if they work well (Arlett) and DELDOT plans to study new traffic counts next year (if the County makes it an aspirational priority) (McCLeary). The sum total of resident protest at meetings and “coffees” attended by hundreds over the last several months has rendered these “action” statements.

Good grief! One is left speechless at the madness of our elected and appointed officials.

The late urban activist Jane Jacobs said about modernistic urban planning: “There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the mask of pretended order achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.”

To assist the county council , the County Administrator and our state representatives who may be allegorically challenged by Ms. Jacobs’ turns of phrase, they, collectively, are the “mask of pretended order achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order.” We, Sussex County residents, are the “real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.”

To date, public meetings and hearings have been a sham. Either residents are lectured on procedures for opposing building permits, informed their concerns are 10 years past due or simply told their observations of crowding and congestion are “too weedy” for our elite team of comprehensive planners to incorporate into their “thinking.”

Whatever the forum or content, searching for relief from this band of officials is futile. They simply cannot admit they made our infrastructure mess and hence, quite logically, they cannot agree to clean it up.

Hopelessness need not carry the day. An independent study reviewing the permitting, land use and zoning decisions of the County over the last 15 years and how those decisions impact our infrastructure today would be a welcome addition to the County’s planning tools.

Moreover, an independent study could provide specific recommendations to remediate existing damage to our infrastructure and provide solutions for achieving in the future a balance between sensible growth and maintenance of a good urban quality of life. Such an independent study would be a formidable asset to assist with concluding and finalizing the draft comprehensive plan currently in process.

The absurdity of public statements by our County Administrator that the draft plan has received nothing but positive comments underscores the draft plan’s lack of gravitas as a planning document.

To our County Administrator and county council, your residents are demanding “to be served.” Can you not find collectively the will to carry out the public purpose that would be furthered by a truly independent review of how we got here and how we get out?

James Angus

Frankford

CATS is grateful for support with effort

Editor:

Cats Around Town Society (CATS) wishes to thank Giant Foods—Millville, Hocker’s Supercenter and our community for their support on our bake sale Nov. 18. The bake sale was held to recognize Global Cat Day. All monies collected ($850) will be spent on spay/neutering/vaccinating of community cats.

CATS’s mission is to reduce the over-population of homeless cats in our community using the proven effective method, trap/neuter/vaccinate/return. Visit CATS’s Facebook page to learn more about our organization and find out how you can become a volunteer with our 501(c) charity club.

Remember, if you are feeding community cats, thank you, but call us for help in spaying/neutering of your colony. How can you help hundreds of cats from becoming homeless? Spay or neuter one!

Nancy Ward, Secretary

Cats Around Town Society (CATS)

Democratic committee against right-to-work

Editor:

The 14th Representative District Democratic Party Committee stands for policies and laws that support workers and their families, including fair pay for all. The so-called “right-to-work” ordinance recently introduced for consideration by Sussex County Council does just the opposite, and that’s why we are encouraging the Council to defeat it.

Even before getting to the merits of the proposed ordinance, such an ordinance is not within Council’s jurisdiction to consider. In fact, County attorneys have advised against it and the Delaware Department of Justice rendered a legal opinion on this very subject, stating in a Nov. 15 letter that, “…Sussex County Council is without legal authority to enact the Ordinance. Title 9 of the Delaware Code is devoid of any express or implied grant of authority to Sussex County to regulate labor organizations or otherwise affect the employee/employer relationship with respect to collective bargaining.”

Turning to the merits of the ordinance, those who have studied “right-to-work” legislation know that it is a subject where hard, unbiased data is scarce. Inevitably, the debate devolves into opposing ideological and political arguments, making less impact as an economic policy than as a political call-to-arms.

Here are the facts: First, workers in Sussex County are already taking full advantage of their right to work. Sussex County’s September unemployment rate was just 4.4 percent — the lowest in Delaware.

Second, no worker may be forced to join a union; the Supreme Court has already ruled to prohibit this.

Third, right-to-work legislation will not attract business to our community. What has and does attract businesses to Sussex County is our favorable climate — both natural and economic — and our educated and qualified workforce.

Turning to Delaware’s unions, we believe they should be applauded for the support they provide to the working people of Delaware. Union representation is about worker safety, worker dignity and worker protection.

Without the bargaining power that the unions supply, an individual worker hasn’t a leg to stand on when asking for what he or she deserves — a living wage, decent working conditions and worker protection in all its forms.

From our teachers to our pipe-fitters, from our police and other first-responders to our electrical workers, and all the workers in between, unions help advocate for a living wage and a healthy and productive way of life.

So, talking about “right-to-work” in Sussex County is really just a distraction from the real work at hand. That work is attracting jobs and investment to our county and state, thereby giving workers and their families more opportunities to grow and thrive.

The 14th Representative District Democratic Party Committee applauds the support and advocacy provided by Delaware’s unions on behalf of the working people of this county and state. And, that is why we encourage the County Council to quickly reject this distraction and move on with addressing the real issues impacting the economy and quality of life for Sussex County’s citizens and workers.

Find us on Facebook at @Del14thRDDemocratic Committee and send us an instant message to get involved.

The 14th RD Democratic Party Committee

Dick Byrne, Committee Chair

Leslie Ledogar, Committee Vice-Chair

Cheryl Fructman, Committee Secretary

Ed McHale, Committee Treasurer

Carl Balatto, Dennis Berlin, Mitch Crane, Marsha Davis, Patty Magee, Barbara Morales, Rich Morgante, Peter Schott and Jack Young