Letters to the Editor — March 28, 2014

Ellendale group thankful to governor

Editor:

The Ellendale Civic Association would like to commend our governor on his stand to clean up the water here in Delaware. We appreciate the fact that he has recognized the need for improvement throughout the state and the hazard that is presented with the current water situation.

The question that is raised by the Ellendale Community Civic Improvement Association, considering the report presented to the Ellendale community in August 2013 by Delaware Health & Social Services, Division of Public Health and with the article in the Jan. 26, 2014, News Journal citing Ellendale as the city with the highest rate of cancer in Delaware, is why Ellendale was not one of the cities designated to receive water improvement.

Though there has been a reduction in cancer in some portions of the state, Ellendale cannot boast any of those statistics.

Funding has been made to purchase “sand” for the improvements to Broadkill Beach, among Delaware’s wealthiest communities, to exceed $14 million dollars. Our governor has found the need in New Castle County and Kent County and has appropriated funding to correct these conditions.

The Ellendale Community Civic Improvement Association has made several requests for assistance over the past 10 years for help regarding the water conditions in this city. Ellendale does not have the tax structure that Wilmington and Dover have to provide the necessary funding to match/meet the funding required to improve these conditions.

Though Ellendale is not a wealthy community, it is part of the state and as such, the people of Ellendale deserve the same consideration of improving its current water conditions.

Loretta Benson, Executive Director
Ellendale Civic Association

Dorfman grateful for support

Editor:

As I recuperate from hip surgery, I want to thank the many friends and neighbors who have sent prayers, good wishes, get-well cards and care packages, etc. I am overwhelmed with the good feelings sent our way. I have always felt that this place, Bethany Beach, is a wonderful place to live. This experience just reinforces those feelings. So, let me say to all of you, a heartfelt thank-you, from both Cherie and I. You’re the best.

Jerry Dorfman
Bethany Beach

Sussex County needs a code of conduct

Editor:

Some weeks ago, on its website, the Sussex County administrator asked for feedback from the public on how Sussex County could improve its services, including how it could become more “transparent.”

This was my response:

Mr. Robert Wheatley, chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission, serves in various capacities that represent an inexcusable and serious conflict of interest. Since Sussex County has no code of conduct like Kent and New Castle counties, there is no way to hold Mr. Wheatley accountable.

In addition to serving as chairman of P&Z, Mr. Wheatley is, or until just recently was, for many years, the president of business development for the Whayland Company, which provides a variety of consulting and construction services for developers in Sussex County. He also serves on the Delaware Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board and most recently was appointed chairman of the public policy committee for the Delaware Association of Realtors.

In these capacities, Mr. Wheatley is able to recommend approvals for rezoning property for development, provide consulting and construction services for these developments, and set policy for Realtors who sell homes in these developments — a pretty sweet deal, and about as transparent as looking through a piece of lead! Yet this conflict is allowed to continue. The public should be outraged.

Now Mr. Wheatley is running for Sussex County Council. If elected, he will most likely continue his questionable activities. This simply should not happen.

William F. Moyer
Dover

SMS students recognized for efforts

Editor:

The Florence Rogers Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society at Selbyville Middle School recently held their annual induction ceremony, on March 14, 2014. We welcomed 63 seventh- and eighth-grade students who were selected based on their excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, character and citizenship. Our new members were surprised at the ceremony by their family and friends, and enjoyed a reception afterwards.

We would like to thank the local organizations and businesses who generously donated to make this event possible: the Selbyville Community Club, Food Lion (Selbyville), Giant (Millville) and Harris Teeter (Bethany Beach and Selbyville). We feel very fortunate to be supported by our community.

Olivia Catrino, President
Betsy Bare, Advisor
Florence Rogers Chapter
National Junior Honor Society
Selbyville Middle School

State Rep pushes for open government

Editor:

How much does it cost? How will it affect me or my business? In my eyes, these are fair questions to ask of any new government regulation.

In the last few years, businesses, farms, and individuals in this state have been subject to a variety of new regulations, licenses, and fees, which, by law, were implemented by our government often without the proponents of such burdens having to answer these very simple questions.

Currently, whenever a new regulation is proposed, the department responsible must be subject to public comment. However, there is no responsibility, under the law, to provide the public with information relating to: how much the regulation will cost in the short or long term, how the proposed regulation will positively affect an individual or business, or what negative effects the regulation may have. In other words, even though the public gets the chance to review the proposed regulation, the state agency or department requesting the new reg has no obligation to present a cost analysis or show the public the potential impacts of such a proposal. In my opinion, this is not the way the system is designed to work.

In the spirit of making government more responsive to the will of the people, I am proud to be the prime sponsor of legislation addressing a gap in the regulatory process. Should House Bill 276 be enacted, whenever a regulation is being created or modified, as part of the public comment process, the agency in charge must answer these basic questions. The bill specifically states:

“The notice shall provide an estimate of the economic effect of the regulation on the business which it is to regulate, if any, and on the public. These estimates must be stated separately, and in each case must include:

-Both adverse and beneficial effects; and

-Both immediate and long-term effects;

The notice shall provide an estimate of the cost to the agency for enforcement of the proposed regulation.”

Under the current Delaware law, the state agency considering a new or modified regulation is already required to consider questions relating to the potential cost impacts and possible effects on individuals and businesses. My bill simply states those issues must now be aired publicly. In that way, this bill will require no additional financial burden to the state.

A recent internal survey this year of members of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce rated “Transparency in Government” as one of the most important factors influencing growth and stability in each member’s business. A total of 35 percent rated it as the most important factor, equal to healthcare concerns and just behind taxes.

The phrase “common sense” is thrown around way too often in the political world. What is often seen as common sense to one group is often an affront to another. However, if We The People are truly still in charge of our own government, and I believe we should be, being able to ask that government demonstrate how much a new program is going to cost and what kinds of effects it will have should be “common sense” requirements and I urge my fellow legislators to view them as such. In addition, in the spirit of just recently marking the five-year anniversary of a law that brought the General Assembly under Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act and, subsequently, now provides more transparency in state government, I urge the passage of this regulatory legislation.

It has been my experience that all political ideologies and both sides of Legislative Hall support the idea of open government. This is an open government bill and I look forward to working with the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans, and the Governor on bills like this which help to preserve in the state of Delaware a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

State Rep. Jeff Spiegelman
11th District