Je Suis Charlie?

Journalists and other leftists around the world are wrapping themselves in the blood soaked banner of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, a lot of conservatives too.  Last week’s attack on the newspaper’s staff, along with the murder of a French policeman, was horrific.  We should all support their right to publish.  We should also recognize the innate hypocrisy we are being shoveled by many (most?) of Charlie Hebdo’s new found allies.

Charlie Hebdo loves to ridicule religion; not Islam, not Christianity – religion … period.  Fair enough, they should have that right.  What if they attacked homosexuals, or women, or blacks, or … ?  They would be have been labeled as a right-wing (always) homophobic (or sexist, or racist, or …ist) rag.  As David Brooks has pointed out:

The journalists at Charlie Hebdo are now rightly being celebrated as martyrs on behalf of freedom of expression, but let’s face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.

When Ayann Hirsi Ali is invited to speak at a college campus she is usually protested, or disinvited.  This hypocrisy is not limited to the college campus either.  Writers such as Ann Coulter are routinely attacked.  Why?  They present a right-of-center point of view.  Sure, some leftists are attacked as well but the attack is usually against their arguments.

If we are serious about freedom of speech, we should strive to protect it.  This means engaging in civil discourse whenever possible and acknowledging that speech never justifies violence.  We should acknowledge that some speech, like much found in Charlie Hebdo, is just plain rude.  We should support their right to publish.  We should decry the Jihadist attack against them.  But are they heroes?

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Will Wicomico EVER Get An Elected Board of Education?

Not Unless County Council Gets Off the Dime

As long as Wicomico County voters aren’t allowed to have a say in who runs their public schools they will continue to see a school system that grows in bureaucracy and borrows to build new schools rather than adequately maintain existing buildings.  All anecdotal evidence indicates that a majority of voters favor a school board elected in the same manner as the county council – five members by district and two members at large.  The only way to receive objective evidence is a vote at the polls; something that certain special interest groups want to deny Wicomico voters.

An elected school board will not be a silver bullet to correct the problems our public schools face; it certainly won’t yield worse results than we’ve seen to date.  However, the powers that be continue to stonewall the county’s voters.

How can we get an elected school board?  It all starts with the County Council.  They need to pass a resolution which would (hopefully) be signed by newly elected County Executive Bob Culver.  Members of the county’s legislative delegation would then be asked to sponsor a bill in Annapolis calling for a question to be placed on the 2016 ballot.  If the question received a majority vote of Wicomico voters, it would then fall on the legislature to approve a bill allowing for an elected school board.

The process could fall apart at any step of the process.  BUT … it needs to start with the County Council.  As the legislative session begins, and the deadline to introduce bills fast approaches, where is the County Council on this issue?  They have had two opportunities to introduce a resolution but council president John Cannon hasn’t placed anything on the agenda.  Could Culver introduce a resolution?  Sure.  But let’s face it; his hands are full while the council isn’t doing much more than approving appointments right now.

Cannon claims to support an elected school board, but he set’s the council’s agenda.  There is no reason not to place a resolution on the council’s agenda … IMMEDIATELY!  Waiting makes it less likely that Wicomico will have an opportunity to select the people who run our schools rather than Annapolis doing it for us.

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State, Wicomico County Must Manage Expectations for 2015

I’m not a pessimist.  No, really I’m not.  I sincerely hope that 2015 will be a GREAT year for Maryland and for Wicomico County.  While I HOPE that 2015 will be a great year, I’m a realist.  I expect this year to be a good year, IF we can agree on a definition of “good”.

We still have a few weeks until Larry Hogan is sworn in as governor.  Bob Culver, while starting off well, only has a few weeks under his belt as Wicomico’s County Executive.  Both the state and county face significant fiscal challenges.  Hogan and his team appear to be working around the clock to address severe revenue shortfalls for both the current and next fiscal years.

Starting with a mound of problems it is important that both Hogan and Culver be allowed the opportunity to address issues which they inherited.  Voters, particularly Republican voters, should allow both the opportunity to succeed before calling either out for failing to fulfill their respective campaign promises.  This is precisely why it is important that GOP activists and Republican-leaning bloggers need to manage expectations for 2015.

Monoblogue’s Michael Swartz believes that the County Council and Culver will be “working from the same political playbook”.  That remains to be seen.  Councilmen Ernie Davis (D-1), John Hall (R-4), John Cannon (R-At Large), and Matt Holloway (R-At Large) are all on record as wanting to fund a new West Salisbury Elementary School.  The only reason Hall, Cannon, and Matt Holloway voted in favor of a bond resolution without funding for West Salisbury was because Culver had pledged to not sign such a resolution.

Swartz also notes that the chief impediments to an elected school board are now gone with the departures of former County Executive Rick Pollitt, former Del. Norm Conway, and former Del. Rudy Cane.  That is true as far as it goes.  However, there is no more vocal opponent of an elected school board (and particularly a fully elected board) than Cane’s replacement – Del. Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-37A).  While all of Wicomico’s incoming delegation may be freshmen, Sample-Hughes is the only House member from the majority party in Annapolis.  Even more distressing is the County Council’s seeming lack of concern in asking Annapolis for a fully elected school board.

Most of the heavy lifting in Wicomico County will have to be done by Culver.  This is by design.  He controls the budget.  Because so much of the state budget is comprised of mandatory spending, Hogan will have less control than Bob Ehrlich.

Both Hogan and Culver need to continue making their respective cases for decreases in spending.  Maryland voters need to press their Senators and Delegates to cut spending.  Only then will Hogan have the opportunity call for reducing taxes.  Culver will need support to continue pressing for less spending.  Even then, lowering tax rates will prove difficult.

Those of us who want to see a better, more competitive state and county need to manage our expectations.  Neither Hogan nor Culver have magic wands to wave.  They can succeed.  We need to give them time to do just that.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  It took Martin O’Malley eight years to put Maryland in its present condition.

photo courtesy of SBYNews

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Does “Advocacy” Equal Spending?

We’ve heard it all a million times … The more we spend on education the better our society (town, city, county, state, nation) will be.  It sounds great!  It’s for the children!  It also happens to be false.

Does anyone believe that New York City’s public schools are among the nation’s best?  How about Washington, DC or Chicago?  They all spend substantially more per pupil than Wicomico County.

Last Sunday we were treated to an op-ed by Wicomico Board of Education (WCBOE) president Ron Willey.  Willey argues that it is the board’s responsibility to “advocate” for more money:

We would also be less than responsible if we did not speak out for the needs of all of our students when it comes to facilities that will provide 21st century education opportunities.

It is true that modern buildings support the instructional programs and enable teachers to provide creative and more effective instruction for students. Whether elected or appointed, the school board must be the voice for these issues when budget decisions are made.

No Mr. Willey!  Your responsibility is to direct Wicomico County’s public schools.  That MAY mean building new schools when needed.  It also means making sure that the employees of the WCBOE maintain the existing stock of facilities.  It also means directing the Superintendent and his underlings to put the maximum number of available dollars into the CLASSROOM, not the bureaucracy.

Currently the WCBOE is “advocating” to close an existing school (East Salisbury Elementary) to house bureaucrats while wailing to all who will listen that tax dollars must be expended to build a new West Salisbury Elementary.

We must admit that there are no simple solutions to the problems facing Wicomico County’s schools (or any other school district in the nation).  It is unjust to lay society’s problems at the feet of teachers.  It is equally unjust to demand hard working tax payers shell out an ever increasing amount to solve a problem that isn’t being solved.

Our schools should be adequately funded.  Our schools should be well managed … from the Board on down.  That means maintaining our existing schools and only building new ones when enrollment growth demands it!  That means providing us, the public, with real evidence that the WCBOE is cutting wasteful spending and bureaucracy.  I’m no Pollyanna, but I do believe that taxpayers would be more receptive to higher taxes IF they honestly believed that they were receiving more value for their tax dollars.  The largest share of those tax dollars go to the public schools.

Wicomico County faces a severe financial crisis in the coming years.  The state will have little choice but to reduce funding for a variety of services, including education.  Given that Wicomico County currently funds only about one quarter the cost of its schools, funding for primary and secondary education will probably have to decrease as well.  If Mr. Willey was the honest broker he claims, the WCBOE would be working WITH the county government to plan for these problems instead of attempting to gin up public support for more spending.  We assume that Mr. Willey can read the election returns.  Wicomico voters want less taxes, not more.

“Advocating” for more money will not solve the problems of Wicomico’s education system;  LEADERSHIP, from the WCBOE, the Superintendent, the County Executive, and the County Council will.  “Advocacy” (for more money) does not improve the quality of schools.  Advocacy for change can.

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Protest … Ad Absurdum

Today mourners prepare for the funeral of slain NYPD officer Rafel Ramos (the funeral for officer Wen Jian Liu will be later).  New York mayor Bill DeBlasio has asked that “peaceful protest” against the police be postponed until after the funerals.  Some protesters have shown restraint, others continue to verbally attack the police.

We all have a right to engage in non-violent protest.  This right is guaranteed by the First Amendment.  The problem is that many of these “protesters” are not engaging in peaceful protest, contrary to assertions made by Mayor DeBlasio.  The New Criterion’s James Pierson highlights some of the recent incidents:

On the evening of December 13, several hundred supporters of the movement marched across the Brooklyn Bridge toward Manhattan for the purpose of staging protests at City Hall and other locations in the City.  During that march across the walkway of the Bridge, one protestor picked up a garbage can and tried to throw it out on to the adjacent roadway and into the path of automobile traffic.  Two police officers intervened to stop the man and to place him under arrest.  At this moment, at least six other protestors came to the aid of their comrade, knocking the officers to the ground and then kicking and slugging them into submission. One officer suffered a broken nose in the melee. The assailants escaped into the night, but not before several witnesses used smart phones to film the attack.  Police also recovered the backpack of the man who started the incident by trying to throw the garbage can on to the roadway.

“What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now.”

This is not peaceful.  This is not non-violent.  While not as egregious as recent events in Missouri, this does not further the cause of those who want to see an end to needless death at the hands of our police. (While rare, this does occur.)  This certainly does not aid in improving race relations in this country.  Improvement occurred in the 1960’s because white Americans were horrified to see peaceful protesters viciously attacked.  Then came the era of the “Race Pimp”.  Where Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, John Lewis, and countless others were heroes to a movement, we now see hustlers attempt to portray criminals like Michael Brown as “innocent victims”.  In some  (rare) instances they may be victims.  They are not innocent.  In some (rare) instances police are racist thugs; but those instances are rare.

Our police deserve better.  We deserve better.  The African-American community deserves better.  As long as the Al Sharpton’s of the world attempt to control the narrative (and the black community allows them to) real injustice will not receive the attention it deserves.

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Fredericksen Changes Horses in Mid-Stream (Again)!

Wicomico Public Schools superintendent John Fredericksen fancies himself a politician.  He uses tax dollars to implement a (usually unsuccessful) grass roots lobbying effort to obtain more money to spend.  He also doesn’t hesitate changing positions at a moment’s notice.  Today’s op-ed by Fredericksen (along with the typically courageous stance of the Daily Times) provide more evidence that our county and state elected officials need to exercise great caution when dealing with Fredericksen and the Wicomico County Board of Education (BOE).

Fredericksen implies that Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver lied to the public by claiming that a replacement for West Salisbury Elementary School was not in the capital improvement plan:

This is a project that has been in the works for many years. Additions to West Salisbury Elementary were recommended 16 years ago in the 1998 Seidel Commission Report. Plans for a West Salisbury Elementary project have been in the Capital Improvement Plan and "future plans" section of the Facilities Master Plan each year since the Fiscal Year 2001 report — some 14 years ago. These reports go to the Board of Education and County Council each year and are available to the public.

This is a typical “bait and switch” which Fredericksen loves to foist on a plain speaking public.  Culver was correct.  The county’s capital improvement plan (CIP) does not include replacing West Salisbury for most of those years.  It is not Culvers fault if the BOE did not submit a request or if the county council did not approve every capital request from the BOE.  Wicomico County would be bankrupt if it did.

Here is where Fredericksen switches horses:

[Read more…]

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Pile-up on Bob Culver (Part II)

UPDATE BELOW

Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton is the most partisan Democrat in Wicomico County.  A self-described “free government cheese eating liberal”, Ireton’s politics serve as a secular religion to his lapsed Catholicism.  Little wonder that Ireton chose to flip-flop on an important local issue and somehow blame new Wicomico County Executive (and Republican) Bob Culver.

On the record multiple times opposing the continued employment of firefighters hired through a federal SAFER grant.  It should be noted that when the council agreed to take the grant, Ireton attacked several members (most notably former councilwoman Debbie Campbell).  The council was reluctant because the predicted the precise problem which has now arisen.  But now an evil Republican has replaced Ireton’s fellow Democrat and political ally Rick Pollit.

The result?  Ireton has reluctantly agreed to rehire the firefighters but has made their long term employment contingent on more money from the county.  If I were a Salisbury taxpayer Ireton’s argument might be appealing.  If I lived in one of the rural fire districts I would be frightened by Ireton’s lack of concern for his fellow county residents.

Ireton maintains that Salisbury answers the lion’s share of calls.  True.  The Salisbury Fire District is the most populous, and most dense, fire district.  Common sense dictates that they will receive the highest number of calls for service.  Ireton believes that Salisbury is being treated unfairly in this matter.  As mayor of Salisbury he has a point.  As a citizen of Wicomico County he believes that his neighbors should burn rather than cut into his believed fair share of the county’s available money for fire departments.

Go down the road to Powellville.  To the best of my knowledge this is the least populous, and least dense, fire district.  Yet, to serve their area of the county still requires a fire house and equipment.  If you looked at each fire department on a cost per call basis you would see that Powellville’s costs are much higher than Salisbury’s.  Should the citizens of Wicomico allow the most rural portions of the county to burn in order to appease Mr. Ireton’s sense of financial fairness?

Should we be surprised that Ireton waited until after the election, and his political ally lost, before attempting to make political hay out of this predicted situation?  Of course not.  Ireton has used similar tactics from the day he was sworn in as mayor.  To date the voters of Salisbury have rewarded him.  As long as they do, he will continue to put politics above policy.

Fortunately for the citizens of Wicomico County, Bob Culver hasn’t provided any indication that he will be bullied by people like Ireton.  Let’s hope he continues to stand firm.

 

UPDATE:

In Sunday’s Daily Times some of Ireton’s behavior was confirmed.  Rick Hoppes, Ireton’s hand-picked fire chief, had promised council members that money would be found in the budget to keep the firefighters on staff when the SAFER grant money ran out.  DT reporter Jeremy Cox asked councilman Tim Spies, who was one of the members who voted for the SAFER grant, about Ireton’s “surprise” that council didn’t understand that the positions were temporary.

“I could swear that the (fire) chief said if we wanted to keep those people, he would find it in the budget somewhere,” the councilman said.

For those of us who attended that council meeting it is hard to forget.  Ireton was doing everything possible to goad the council into not accepting the grant monies.  At the same time he and Hoppes were telling them that the grant was essential to the public safety and that future funds would be found to keep the 11 new firefighters on the payroll after the grant expired.

Now the city election is over.  Ireton was re-elected.  Debbie Campbell was not.  Whose fault is it that the city can’t keep those individuals in the fire department?  Bob Culver, of course.  If he doesn’t pony up more cash for Salisbury then Ireton will blame his woes on the evil Republican county executive and county council.

 

Pile-up on Bob Culver (Part I)

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Pile-up on Bob Culver (Part I)

Bob Culver has been sworn in as County Executive and the sniping has begun.  It didn’t take very long for the usual suspects:  the Daily Times, the Wicomico County Board of Education, and local partisan Democrats to jump on the collective bandwagon attacking Culver for refusing to fund construction of a new West Salisbury Elementary School.

DT reporter Phil Davis seems to have adopted an old tactic – wrap a lie in quotes and don’t bother checking the facts:

Board member Kim Hudson approached the decision calm and collectively, congratulating Culver and the newly elected councilmen on their general election day wins, but criticized the resolution.

"Education has to be a top priority in our county," Hudson said, adding the bonds were "money that was already in the capital improvement plan."

As will be shown in a bit, funding for a new West Salisbury Elementary School may be on a long list of projects in the county’s capital improvement plan, but was a recent addition.  Furthermore, Davis totally neglects to explain what a CIP is – a combination planning document and wish list.  Also included in the CIP is a multi-million expenditure for renovating Wicomico Middle School; yet the the WCBOE (Ms. Hudson included) wishes to shut down that school in an attempt to make the county’s test scores look better.

[Read more…]

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Maryland’s Wake-Up Call

The Baltimore Sun’s John Fritze lays out the facts pretty well – federal spending in Maryland is down and Maryland’s congressional delegation just lost a lot of its clout.   Maryland Democrats spend every waking hour pointing fingers and trying to figure out why voters rejected their tax and spend message on November 4th.  Maryland Republicans like Governor-elect Larry Hogan, new Howard County Exec Allan Kittleman, and new Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver are trying to clean up the messes left by years of wasteful, misguided spending and a belief that taxpayers can be plucked like chickens.

Well, in the Once Free State government IS the family business.  Turn to your left.  Turn to your right.  Somebody is working for the federal, state, or local government.  With federal spending down $1.2 billion in Maryland (over $3 billion when you take out entitlement spending and adjust for inflation), times aren’t looking so good.

Economist Anirban Basu has it right:

"No one is suggesting that Maryland should not continue to focus attention on federal contracting and related industries, but these industries will no longer be the economic engines of growth that they have been.”

Maryland can be a great state.  It simply needs to get out of the way of business and allow its job creators to grow and prosper.  This will, in turn, attract new job creators.  Larry Hogan seems committed to doing just that.  Let’s hope.

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Common Sense About Disincentive

From Daniel Hannan , MEP –

It’s a funny thing… but if you start taxing countries for doing the right thing, in order to pay countries who are doing the wrong thing, you’re going to end up fewer of the former and more of the latter.

When will politicians ever learn?  The best way to incentivize an economy is to leave it alone.  Neither crony capitalism nor socialism will ever triumph over a truly free market.

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A Brighter Future for Wicomico?

The future of Wicomico County begins tomorrow!  At 11:30 AM, Tuesday, Wicomico County will witness the swearing-in of its second County Executive – Bob Culver.  While Culver can seize upon several opportunities, he faces a great number of steep hurdles.  Is he up to the task?  We hope so.

Show Me the Money

More than most places, the relationship between Wicomico County government and its citizens focuses on money.  We have the revenue cap.  Voters seem to believe that taxes can be cut, perhaps ad infinitum, with little or no impact on services.  As with most localities, the bureaucracy at the local Board of Education (WCBOE) equates quantity of money spent with quality of education.  For the last several years Wicomico’s county council has refused to cut spending requested by the outgoing county executive while that same County Executive has refused to trim the county payroll despite cutting back on services.  Rather than maintain its existing physical plant, the local Board of Ed wants to build more schools and the county government (both executive and council) have acquiesced.  Wicomico County keeps borrowing while debt and pension obligations keep growing.  Despite the wishful thinking of some, there are no easy solutions.

We would suggest Mr. Culver attack low hanging fruit first; while planning for the more difficult tasks ahead:

  1. Cut the Budget NOW!
  2. Require Accountability from the Board of Education
  3. Implement Zero-Based Budgeting
  4. Make Voters a Part of the Solution
  5. Pension Reform
  6. Grow the Local Economy

[Read more…]

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Justice By The Numbers

I picked up my Sunday copy of the Daily Times and thought that I had fallen into a copy of Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers .  The white liberal guilt oozed from the paper’s lead editorial.  If truth in advertising applied to the media, Look Closer at Arrest Patterns would be more fairly titled Arrest By the Numbers

Are African-American’s arrested in higher numbers on the Delmarva Peninsula?  I have no doubt.  I’m not accusing reporters Vanessa Junkin and Rachel Pacella of lying.

However, the published numbers demand that additional questions be asked.  Are African-Americans being falsely arrested?  If so, shouldn’t the prosecutors responsible for these cases demand better, more just, work by their respective police forces?

Yet, we see no evidence from the paper’s reporting that this is the case.  Sure, some folks are unjustly arrested.  Some may be black; some white, some brown.  I have no doubt that this happens and hope that the police will clean up their act when it does occur.  I even believe that some innocent people are unjustly convicted.  I also believe that this is the exception rather than the rule.

[Read more…]

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Where Were You in ‘68?

Windows smashed.  Buildings ablaze, lighting up the night sky.  “Civil Rights Activists” ginning up the mob.  Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

What’s the net result?  For starters, black and immigrant owned businesses are gone.  Families, most likely African-American, are homeless.  The only winners are the race pimps, the agitators, and the mainstream media – whose ratings go up as we sit in front of our LCD screens and watch as “those people”, hundreds (or thousands) of miles away destroy a small city.

In 1968 I was a young kid living just across the Baltimore City line.  My father worked downtown at the old Fish Market (now Port Discovery).  Here is one of my memories:

What’s the biggest difference?  One photo is color and the other is black and white.

Businesses and homes were burned.  People lost their jobs.  People had no home to return to after the tumult.

Have injustices been addressed?  Yes.  Does more need to be done?  Yes.  However, I would argue that the non-violent actions of people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy, Medgar Evers, and countless others did more to bring that about than any action by the likes of Rap Brown, Jesse Jackson, or Al Sharpton.  They also managed to encourage progress rather than destroy the lives of their fellow African-Americans.

Today we have the likes of Attorney General Eric Holder stating that he “doesn’t condone the violence”.  Missouri governor Jay Nixon refused to send in the National Guard until after a full night of burning and looting.  Back then Baltimore mayor Thomas L. J. D’Alesandro, III refused to ask Maryland governor Spiro Agnew to send in the National Guard until a great deal of damage had already been done and the riot had gotten out of hand.  At least Agnew, considered a moderate, “Rockefeller” Republican at the time, took a stand and demanded that the self-identified “leaders” of the African-American community lead and denounce the violence.  Most did not out of fear of reprisals from the more radical elements inciting the riots.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani last week demanded that our nation’s leaders denounce the violence in Ferguson.  Where are our elected officials?  Are they too afraid of the Al Sharptons of the world and how they will be portrayed on MSNBC?

[Read more…]

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What to Do About Wicomico’s Crumbling Schools

Last week I asked the question, “Should Wicomico County borrow more money?”.  This was primarily in reference to the swearing in of a new County Executive and County Council and council president Matt Holloway acted responsibly by pulling the item from the agenda. Yet, a greater underlying problem lurks beneath the surface for Wicomico taxpayers.  How does the county provide a decent education for the children of Wicomico County and still live within its means?

West Salisbury Elementary School has been slated for rebuilding.  There is also discussion by the Wicomico County Board of Education (WCBOE) to merge West Salisbury and Charles Chipman Elementary Schools.  Why do we need a new school?  Some may argue that we don’t, but the fact that West Salisbury has been denied any meaningful renovation since it opened in the early 1960’s means that a new school may have to be built.

West Salisbury is Bennett Middle all over again.  Don’t renovate.  Don’t maintain the physical plant more than absolutely necessary in hopes of building a new school.  Evidently, building (first) and renovating schools looks good on a superintendent’s resume.  In addition, the state pays for a hefty share of new school construction but doesn’t cover renovation costs.  As I have noted earlier, Wicomico County can expect a decline in state aid  (and possibly direct aid to the county’s schools).  Currently Wicomico County pays less than 25% of the cost of the county’s schools.  Compare this to 35% in Dorchester and over 75% in Worcester.  In addition, Wicomico will no longer have the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee to look to.  So what should Wicomico County, and its new County Executive, do?

[Read more…]

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Where Is the Outrage in Kent County?

“Activists” are preparing to riot in Missouri, even though the grand jury hasn’t disclosed its findings regarding the Michael Brown shooting.  Gannett is ginning up racial hatred on the Lower Shore by pushing the subtext that African-Americans are UNJUSTLY arrested in disproportionate numbers.  Yet, there seems to be little outcry when an African-American candidate appears to have been robbed of an election in Kent County.

After election night AND the absentee canvass, GOP candidate for Kent County Recorder of Deeds La Mar Gunn was the winner by two votes.  However, the Board of Canvassers decided that incumbent Democrat Betty Lou McKenna was the winner after most of the public had gone home.  The Wilmington News-Journal reports the story as if there is no question of the results.  Even when covering Gunn’s contesting of the election results, the News-Journal seems to yawn.  The Delaware State News provides better coverage … just.

If Dave Anderson’s reporting at Delaware Politics is accurate, and he usually is, there a lot of questions begging for answers.  We all know that if Gunn were a Democrat and McKenna a Republican the mainstream media would be screaming racism from the top of their collective lungs.  Unfortunately for Gunn, he chose to run as a Republican.  Expect this to be swept under the rug.

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Should Wicomico Borrow More Money?

It’s approaching noon.  The agenda and briefing book for tomorrow’s Wicomico County Council meeting hasn’t been posted online.  The public won’t be able to prepare to intelligently comment at the meeting.  Yet, the outgoing council expects to vote on borrowing $16 million.  Should they?

A majority of the incoming council will be new.  The incoming County Executive is new.  Some of the funds for the expected bond offering will be for new projects (such as replacing the Westside Primary School West Salisbury Elementary School).  Wicomico County faces a potential budget disaster.  Should this council approve putting Wicomico County even deeper in debt?

As with most things, the answer is complicated.  The county has little choice but to approve capital projects already started (such as the new Bennett Middle).  However, new projects should at least be put on hold until the new council and executive are sworn in.  They are the ones who will have to live with the consequences.

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Illiterate? Cry Racism!

This week former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was caught up in an uproar because his critics were too illiterate to understand comments Barbour made on a conference call.  Barbour’s offense?  He referred to President Obama’s policies as “tar babies”.

The liberal media is outraged.  Barbour is a racist.  His lobbying clients should be ashamed.  Really?

What is a “tar baby”.  The dictionary defines it as a “sticky situation”.  The term comes from the “Uncle Remus” stories published in the 19th century.  Br’er Rabbit punches a tar baby (a doll made of tar and turpentine) and becomes stuck.  The “Uncle Remus” stories have their roots in West African folklore transported to America by slaves.  Joel Chandler Harris (and others) published the stories in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Like “Aesop’s Fables”, the stories are designed to impart wisdom, particularly to children.

Barbour’s critics are either illiterate, or simply attempting to score political points by playing the race card.  Neither should be acceptable in this day.

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Mary Landrieu – From Bad to Worse

TheSpectatorLogo

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) faces an uphill battle to retain her seat.  Her response?  Landrieu is attacking her opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).  Here is an ad Landrieu’s campaign released Saturday:

According to Democrats, and the mainstream media, it is Republicans (particularly conservative Republicans) who resort to such tactics.  Yet, Landrieu’s ad is void of a single issue.  When the Washington Post agrees that a Democrat ad has gone too far, that’s saying something!

Yet, what can the Louisiana (or national) voter expect?  Sure, Republicans go negative … even nasty.  It’s just that they aren’t so sanctimonious about it.

If you want to see Cassidy’s actual speech, in context – click here.  But as the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza states:

It’s not clear, though, how many people who see the Landrieu ad will, like me, find and then watch the whole nine-minute Cassidy speech. The Landrieu people are hoping not many.

Expect more nastiness from the same candidate (Landrieu) who not so subtly implied that Louisianans who voted for Cassidy were racists and sexists.

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Beggars of the Shore

With the Maryland General Assembly in session, rural Maryland is once again preparing itself to raped and pillaged.  Expect our taxes to be increased – yes, even in an election year – and yet more of our individual and corporate liberty to be taken away.  What can we do?  One option is to follow the advice of Salisbury’s Daily Times and become sycophants and beggars.

In today’s editorial we are encouraged to drop our collective pants and take it with a metaphorical smile:

… What’s needed is persistence, public relations strategy and a reasonable amount of patience. In addition, Shore delegates and senators need to step up their efforts to find common ground with their counterparts from more populous areas of the state.

One hindrance to progress is that Shore legislators sometimes find it easier to preach to their local choir about the wrongheadedness of Annapolis (and Washington) rather than roll up their sleeves and make incremental progress on very complex issues. As a result, local voters often re-elect officials who speak their language on key issues, but don’t necessarily get better results. …

Translation:  We need to suck up to the Annapolis ruling class so that they will only take away 90% of the money and property that they were otherwise planning to.  We need to become MORE, not less, dependent on Annapolis.  We need to beg to keep SOME of what is already ours by right.

Expect to hear more of this vein in the coming months as the Daily Times prepares the case to re-elect the likes of Del. Norm Conway (D-38B), Sen. Jim Mathias (D-38), Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt (D), Wicomico Councilman Matt Holloway (R), and Wicomico Councilman John Hall (R).

Imagine if we were living in 1776.  Following their logic we should not have stood up against the British crown.  We should have accepted whatever tyranny came from London and hope that we could retain a tiny bit more of our lives, liberty, and property by “building relationships” and “working with the King’s government” as they continued to take what is ours.

By the logic of Michael Killian and his minions at the Daily Tory, Patrick Henry was wrong and the members of the Continental Congress weren’t accomplishing anything because they stood up for what was right rather than what was expedient.

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Wicomico Democrats Seek Allies

How are Wicomico County Democrats progressing towards next fall’s elections?  Better than you might think.  Since a Democrat majority is highly unlikely, local Democrat leaders want the next best thing – a liberal council that will rubber-stamp increased spending and higher taxes if Rick Pollitt is re-elected to the County Executive’s post.

Sources within the Wicomico Democrat Central Committee indicate that they are preparing to give appointee John Hall (R-4) and first term incumbent Matt Holloway (R-At Large) a free pass.  Why?  One need simply look at their voting records and Matt Holloway’s role of carrying water for County Executive Rick Pollitt (D) on council.

Hall was appointed to succeed the late Bob Caldwell.  Caldwell won his seat in 2010 by a landslide 2 votes.  District 4, at best marginally Republican after re-districting, is the Democrat’s best bet to pick up a seat.  Yet, the local Democrat machine appears to be punting.  In his short tenure on council, Hall has voted more like liberal Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-1) than the far more conservative majority of county voters.  If Pollitt can’t have a Democrat majority on council, he wants allies like Hall.  Hall’s votes regarding the Board of Education indicate that he will be ready to help Pollitt to bust the revenue cap if (when) Pollitt is prepared to do so.  Remember, thanks to Del. Norm Conway (D-38B) and Del. Rudy Cane (D-37A) the revenue cap is no longer relevant as long as increased spending goes the Board of Education.

While Matt Holloway claims to be the council’s “voice of agriculture”, he has already stated that he will vote for a tier map which strips county farmers of their property rights.  He has also shown willingness to rubber stamp Pollitt’s spending and tax proposals.  More telling is his attempt to discredit councilman Bob Culver (R-At Large) with an attempted censure – at Pollitt’s behest.  Why?  Culver is challenging Pollitt for the Executive’s job.  It’s little wonder that Matt needed the council’s sole Democrat to support his re-election as council president so that Pollitt’s control of the county’s legislative branch can continue.

While Democrats are actively recruiting a challenger for councilman Joe Holloway (R-5), it is unlikely that they could come close to beating him.  There is no question that Hall is vulnerable, both to primary and general election challenge.  Why would they seek to challenge Joe Holloway but not Hall?  Hmmm….

If Matt Holloway receives a free pass, the reason is far more obvious.  As long as he can garner enough votes to wield the gavel, Pollitt knows that he will have a compliant council.

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Coleman for Virginia Senate

Tomorrow is another election day … at least on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  Voters in Virginia’s 6th senatorial district, which includes the ESVA along with sections of Norfolk and Mathews County, will have the opportunity to elect a replacement for Lt. Governor-elect Ralph Northam.  They will choose between Del. Lynwood Lewis (D-100) and Norfolk businessman Wayne Coleman.  The choice is simple.  Coleman exemplifies the values on which the people of Accomac and Northampton counties take pride in – hard work, individualism, devotion to family and community, and fiscal responsibility.

Coleman personifies Eastern Shore values.  Virginia needs more small businessmen (and women) like Coleman in the General Assembly, not more lawyers like Lewis.  Lewis, while living on the Shore, has shown himself to be a poster child for “Richmond values”, voting for tax hikes, more spending, and growth in state government.

Lewis obviously hopes that the historical parochialism of Virginia’s Eastern Shore will be enough to get him to the Senate.  The ESVA has always been the “red headed step-child” of Virginia.  The state government routinely neglects to even include the Shore on official images of the Commonwealth.  Shore residents can hardly be blamed for their inherent parochialism.  However, when Shore voters have chosen folks from across the Bay to represent them in Richmond they have been well-served.  While I may have my own problems with Sen. Tommy Norment (R-3), does anyone (other than Bill Fears) honestly argue that he did not serve the Shore well?  Northam played on the ESVA’s inherent parochialism to defeat Nick Reras and voted more like a senator from Arlington County than the Eastern Shore.

Sending Lewis to the Virginia Senate is akin to “cutting your nose off to spite your face”.  Akin to Shore Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly, Lewis tosses his “Shore values” in a bin* when he crosses the Bay on his way to Richmond.  In Richmond he has represented the Democrat Party, NOT the 100th District or the Eastern Shore.  Coleman will represent, and fight to protect, those Shore values irrespective of where he resides.  Why?  Because they are not just “Eastern Shore values”.  They are Virginia values.  They are American values.

* – Thanks to Maryland Del. Mike McDermott (R-38B) for his now famous analogy from the 2010 election.

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Media Monday – A Taste of 2014

Recent coverage of county and state politics in Salisbury’s Daily Times provides us a glimpse of what to expect in 2014 … Democrats and their allies can do little wrong while conservative candidates will receive short shrift at best, vilification at worst.

Can we expect better?  We can … but I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.  Jennifer Shutt’s recent chronicling of the announcements of John Hall, Matt Holloway, and Norm Conway show just how low a decent reporter (or her editors) are willing to go to protect the Democrat / left-of-center power structure.

Del. Norm Conway’s (D-38B) recent announcement that he will seek another term was laughable in its bias.  Check out Shutt’s lead:

Hoping to put Maryland taxes on par with surrounding states and secure funding for Lower Shore transportation projects, Chairman of House Appropriation Committee Norman Conway has filed for re-election.

Really?  Can someone name one tax hike that Conway hasn’t voted for?  Maybe New York is considered a surrounding state.

Wicomico councilman John Hall (R-4) has voted more like a Democrat since being appointed to replace the late Bob Caldwell.  Does that make him a liberal?  Not according to Shutt.  In her eyes, carrying water for County Executive Rick Pollitt’s tax and spend policies qualifies Hall as a “moderate”.  We can only surmise that a membership card in the CPUSA is required to be categorized as left-of-center.

As for council president Matt Holloway’s (R) re-election announcement, Shutt portrayed the at-large councilman as “the voice of agriculture”.  Holloway has publicly admitted that he wants the county to adopt a “tier map which the governor will approve”.  If Holloway votes for such a map, he will have totally reversed his 2010 pledge not to allow downzoning of the county’s agricultural land without FULL and FAIR compensation to affected landowners.  Holloway also admitted that he has filed an application to put some of his own family’s land into the state’s MALPF program.  Currently Wicomico County is excluded from the program because it has refused to kowtow to Annapolis’ wholesale theft of property rights.  I guess it’s OK to steal from your neighbors as long as you get paid … and Ms. Shutt fails to report it.

We sincerely hope that the recent failings in Shutt’s reporting are due to the bias of Publisher Tom Claybaugh and Executive Editor Michael Killian.  Shutt has proven herself a fair and capable reporter in the past.  Claybaugh and Killian have not shown much interest in running a newspaper but instead prefer a tabloid catering to the whimsy of the area’s local power structure.  Perhaps they might sell more papers if they allow the likes of Shutt and Jeremy Cox to report more news.

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Salisbury Area Chamber of Cronyism

Crony Capitalismnoun; a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of dirigisme.

It’s a perfect storm.  After years of attacking elected officials who had the temerity to stand up for taxpayers, the Daily Times got its wish and Salisbury city government has returned to the days of the “Dream Team”.  Real estate developers bought themselves a city council seat.  Salisbury taxpayers now subsidize residential development by giving away EDU’s that were meant for commercial development.  The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce is now the number one shill for taxpayer-subsidized development … under the guise of “working together”, the Chamber is now the lead cheerleader for taking from the city’s residents and doling out rewards to a few select developers.

Small wonder, one of those developers is now president of the Chamber.

After a few TEMPORARY construction jobs are created, it will be interesting to see how many permanent jobs come to Salisbury.  It will be even more interesting to see what the next round of subsidies entail.  Joe Citizen can continue to pay while others cash in.

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MSNBC – Don’t Let the Facts Get In the Way of the Narrative

Even the left acknowledges that MSNBC has a “progressive” slant.  To add to the irony, NBC now views MSNBC as an adjunct to its news department.  MSNBC talking heads such as Rachel Maddow make FOX News regulars such as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity look positively moderate in comparison.

While I am a fan of neither O’Reilly nor Hannity, they at least attempt to use facts to support their arguments rather than simply make them up as they go along.  Not so with the MSNBC cabal.

A recent case on point, with a Delmarva slant, is MSNBC’s Chris Hayes:

The man standing before the microphone in his white lab coat is Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD).  Hayes identifies Harris as Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).  He claims that Harris / Price hasn’t practiced medicine since 1996.  Well, that’s not true of the man in the video.  Harris practiced medicine right up until his election to Congress in 2010.  While I can’t speak for Andy, I’m willing to bet that he would still be practicing medicine today if not for a federal law which prohibits members to hold outside jobs.  This is the reason than many physicians serving in Congress no longer practice.

Of course, none of this matters.  Facts don’t matter.  It’s the NARRATIVE that matters.

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Who’ll Stop the Rain Tax?

A press release from the Craig – Haddaway-Riccio campaign:

Harford County Executive and Maryland candidate for Governor David R. Craig released today an economic impact analysis of the so-called rain tax which soaks a typical business that depends on parking lots, roofs and other impervious surfaces with thousands of dollars in fees.  Illustrating the haphazard approach under the new Maryland law, a family-owned General Motors dealership used as a case study in the analysis would be required to pay anywhere from one penny in an outer suburban county to $12,000 per year in Baltimore City.

“If you wanted to open a business with a parking lot, would you want to come to Maryland and figure out this new tax?" asked Craig. “It is easier in our small state for many businesses to simply locate in Delaware, Pennsylvania or Virginia.”

The law, formally known as the “Stormwater Management – Watershed Protection and Restoration Program,” stems from the Obama Administration’s EPA mandate to reduce run off into the Chesapeake Bay.  The O’Malley-Brown Administration signed the measure into law in 2012 with an estimated fiscal impact projected to be a staggering $14.8 billion.  It is the costliest documented stormwater fee regime in the nation that the campaign could determine.   The first stormwater fees were implemented in some jurisdictions across the country beginning in the mid 1970’s to help meet federal Clean Water Act requirements.

Baltimore City alone estimates it will collect $24 million from the rain tax per year. Baltimore, which already has the state’s highest property and individual income taxes, leads the state in taxpayer exodus according to the latest Internal Revenue Service data.
“Baltimore City is sealing its own fate like Detroit – a downward spiral caused by raising taxes and fees on a shrinking base,” said Craig. “Baltimore especially can ill-afford to saddle residents and businesses with the highest rain tax in the state; it will only circle the financial drain that much faster.”

Craig will hold a press conference on the rain tax on Tuesday, September 17 at Boyle Buick and GMC Truck in Abingdon.   The announcement coincides with a scheduled visit to Maryland from Texas Gov. Rick Perry who is waging a media attack on the state’s business climate under the O’Malley-Brown Administration and a nascent grassroots secessionist movement in western Maryland that is likewise gaining media attention.

The O’Malley-Brown Administration has increased taxes, fees and tolls 40 times that remove an additional $3.1 billion out of the economy per year. 

“There is a pattern here,” said Craig. “There is a growing class of ‘forgotten Marylanders’ – people who are left behind from all walks of life and from every part of our state who are required to pay record amounts of taxes, fees and tolls to support radical political rulers who no longer represent them.”

Only in the Once Free State does the government tax the rain.  What’s next?

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The Bill for Secession

No one dislikes the Maryland state government more than I do; and the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Rodrick’s is Maryland’s poster child for the smug, sanctimonious liberal journalist.  That said, Rodrick’s response to the current discussion of secession by five western Maryland counties is well worth reading.  Rodrick lays out just some of the potential costs to Western Marylanders if they actually secede from the Once Free State.

Here on Delmarva we’ve entertained similar discussions in the past, although not as seriously as the folks west of the Baltimore-DC corridor seem to be.  We want our gas tax money back (as do the folks in Allegheny, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties).  We want the jackboot of Annapolis off of our collective necks (ditto for the Western Maryland 5).  In my home of Wicomico County we resent the state telling us what our local property tax rate will be and their effective assassination of our sacred revenue cap.  Personally, I would love to see the Eastern Shore become its own state or possibly merge with Delaware and Virginia’s two Eastern Shore counties (Accomack and Northampton).

There’s just one little problem … how many Eastern Shore residents (or Western Maryland taxpayers) are willing to pay the bill that would be due.  Do you think the voters of Worcester County would be willing to reimburse Annapolis for the cost of beach replenishment or the expansion of US 113?  What do you think the response would be if Wicomico residents were told that they had to reimburse Maryland for the cost of the by-pass around Salisbury and Salisbury University?  God forbid that we actually paid the full freight for the costs of our schools.  What would be the response from folks in Somerset if they had to pay Maryland back for UMES or ECI?  What about the Shore’s community colleges and state parks?

Does anyone actually believe that the good folks of Queen Anne’s or Kent would voluntarily pony up to help us pay those costs?  It reminds me of the many problems faced by the Confederacy when it was formed.

Things like secession sound great in the abstract.  Personally, I think that secession by both Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore would probably be a good thing.  It’s just important that people have a serious discussion with their eyes wide open.

Note:  I know the graphic doesn’t show Carroll as shaded, but it was the best we could do.

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The Dunn / Day Era in Salisbury?

SALISBURY, MD – Is Salisbury returning to the fiscal disaster experienced under the now infamous “Dream Team”?  Only time will tell, but it appears that the huge sums thrown at the Jacob Day campaign by national real estate interests may be starting to pay off certain special interests.

A letter to the editor in this morning’s Daily Times by Chamber of Commerce president (and real estate developer) Brad Gillis outline the benefits already starting to flow to real estate developers … and promises more to come:

Together, the Chamber and the city successfully collaborated and amended the city’s paving policy. This legislation, Resolution 1312, gave greater discretion to the Department of Public Works and its professional engineers, thus creating a quality process and end product for both the developers and the citizens of Salisbury.

We were also successful in amending the city’s policy that required the warranty and maintenance of new infrastructure to be bonded for five years; no other cities researched required a five-year bond.

Without further delay, it’s time to act on another community win: an equivalent dwelling unit incentive zone.

We support the city moving forward with this Incentive Zone, which would create a bank of credits to be used for the development of the downtown area and enterprise zones.

Having this tool will enhance the pro-business climate in our great city without costing the citizens a single dollar. Salisbury’s comprehensive plan calls for high-density growth in our downtown area; this is the time and the place to create such banks.

Approving this incentive zone will send a message to local, regional and national builders and developers: “Downtown Salisbury is primed for both commercial and mixed use developments.”

The “Incentive Zone” of which Gillis speaks is designed to subsidize residential developers, not attract employers.  While Gillis applauds these subsidies (not surprising since he directly benefits), there is no mention of the across the board pay hikes proposed by his ally Mr. Day.  These, and other spending hikes, will ultimately result in tax increases on the citizens and businesses of Salisbury.

Does Mr. Gillis believe that tax hikes will attract business?  Of course not.  These “incentives” are not pro-business; they are simply a little league version of crony capitalism.  As Salisbury goes back to “giving away the store”, who benefits?  The very people who spent tens of thousands of dollars to elect their champion – Jacob Day.

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Obama Fiddles …

Declare war.  … Play golf.  That was the sequence of events yesterday as President Barack Obama announced that he would be taking military action against Syria.

According to Obama:

This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.

While Obama also claims that Syria’s actions are a threat to our national security, he also claims that action isn’t time sensitive.  A tad counterintuitive, but he was elected president.

The most disturbing part of this little political drama is Obama’s cavalier attitude towards Congress.  He believes that he doesn’t need Congressional approval to take military action against Syria.  He and his administration have said so.  He may be right – if you believe that the War Powers Act is constitutional.  However, can Obama now claim unilateral authority AFTER he admits that taking action is not time sensitive?  It seems pretty clear that he now will seek Congressional approval to cover his political backside.

Obama, like almost all politicians, is at least as concerned about appearances as he is about substance (yes, I am feeling particularly charitable today).  Therefore, isn’t it better (for appearance’s sake if nothing else) to cancel a round of golf when you are telling the nation that you are putting our nation and our allies at risk?

Obama prefers to putt while the world burns.

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Read My Lips … Repeal ObamaCare

Red State’s Erick Erickson is one of the few conservative commentators to actually understand what is happening in the Republican Party vis a vis Repealing / Defunding / ??? ObamaCare.  The party’s leadership has never cared about ObamaCare.  They wouldn’t support it, not because it is bad public policy, but because they knew it would cost them votes.  Remember, these same people had no problem supporting another massive entitlement – Medicare Part D.

A moderate, by definition, is one who believes in nothing.  Unfortunately the Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, et al are moderates.  The believe in nothing other than increasing their own political power.  We have symbolic votes to repeal ObamaCare because these people know that nothing will come of it.  They threaten to not increase the debt ceiling because they know it will have to be raised.  When they back down they tell us that the real fight will come at budget time.  Budget time has come.  There will be no budget and they now tell us that they have to pass a continuing resolution … without a defunding of ObamaCare.  The upcoming debt ceiling increase is where we need to tackle ObamaCare.  The GOP leadership not only doesn’t mind lying to us, they also believe that we are too stupid to remember what they told us less than a year before.

Erickson has hit the nail on the head.  The current intra-party fight over defunding ObamaCare is the “Read My Lips” moment for GOP moderates.  Perhaps the Boehner / Cantor / McConnell posse should make a pilgrimage to Houston and ask George H. W. Bush how it all worked out for him.  It made Bill Clinton president.

All of this doesn’t mean that conservatives should think that the battle is over and that we will regain control of the GOP.  It doesn’t.  Staying home will only give the Democrats a win.  We must work to ELECT conservatives.  Sadly, too many of us have become such ideologues that we will not support candidates unless we are in 100% agreement.  While moderates and conservatives all try to claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan, they refuse to follow the wisdom which he left us.

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Obama’s War on Innovative Education

Last week, President Barack Obama was telling students that he wanted to change federal student aid to reward schools that were providing a “cost effective” education.  Sounds great, right?

At the same time the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the accrediting body for over 1,000 colleges in 19 states, was pulling the plug on Ivy Bridge College, a partnership between Tiffin University and the for-profit Altius Education.  Ivy Bridge College’s mission was to provide a cost-effective two year program that successfully funneled students into completing their four year degrees.

The Obama administration argues that the federal government must focus on rewarding schools which are cost effective.  In theory, this is a sound idea.  Unfortunately, neither Obama nor people of his ideological persuasion are able to grasp a few basic truths:

  1. The liberal policy of throwing money (in the form of grants and federally subsidized loans) is a primary culprit in price inflation of a college education far outpacing the price inflation of the economy in general.
  2. “For-Profit” is not synonymous with “bad”, “evil”, or “poor quality”.
  3. A government cannot centrally plan an economy, or a large portion of it, with same efficiency and quality as a free market.
    Like the mortgage crisis, the “crisis” of inflation in higher education is a product of government action.  Monetary inflation is the effect of too much money chasing a limited supply of goods.  Easy money (in the form of poor quality, government subsidized mortgages) chasing a limited amount of real estate precipitated the real estate “bubble”.  Inflation in higher education is the effect of too much money (in the form of grants and subsidized loans) chasing a limited number of seats in our colleges and universities.

Obama and his ideological acolytes first tried to tell us that it was “for profit” education that was the culprit (just has the evil banks were the culprits in the mortgage crisis).  Then we were told that private sector participation in providing student loans was costing taxpayers and students.  While the Obama administration has nearly destroyed for-profit higher education and has ended private sector student lending, the costs of a four year college education continue to rise far faster than the cost of living.

Has all of this extra funding gone to providing a higher quality of education?  No.  Today’s colleges and universities are investing in such educational necessities as rock climbing walls, fancy dining facilities and a Starbucks in almost every building.  This flood of money yields an increased competition for customers students.  A better library, smaller classes, or a better teaching just can’t compete against saunas and caffeine.

Innovation in higher education, just like the innovation brought by school choice in primary and secondary education can’t be permitted.  Free market solutions simply cannot be allowed.  We can continue to expect declining public schools and college graduates drowning in debt … and liberal politicians continuing to claim that the solution is throwing your tax dollars at the problem.

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Virginia Taxpayers Subsidizing Anti-Americanism at Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, VA – With taxes on the rise and government clamoring for more spending, why are Virginia taxpayers subsidizing the activities of a Virginia Tech professor who attacks the United States and our troops?  On Sunday Salon.com published a piece by Tech English professor Steve Salaita where the professor equates “supporting our troops” with jingoism and American imperialism.

Salaita goes so far as to belittle our troops in the field and calls them beggars:

In addition to donating change to the troops, we are repeatedly impelled to “support our troops” or to “thank our troops.” God constantly blesses them. Politicians exalt them. We are warned, “If you can’t stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.” One wonders if our troops are the ass-kicking force of P.R. lore or an agglomeration of oversensitive duds and beggars.

Such troop worship is trite and tiresome, but that’s not its primary danger. A nation that continuously publicizes appeals to “support our troops” is explicitly asking its citizens not to think. It is the ideal slogan for suppressing the practice of democracy, presented to us in the guise of democratic preservation.

Salaita certainly has a right to his opinion.  Taxpayers have a right to ask if they should be forced to subsidize it.  Salaita argues that “troop worship” is encouraging citizens not to think.  On the contrary, non-governmental efforts to support our troops does just the opposite.  As someone who opposed President Bush’s attack on Iraq and who now opposes President Obama’s sabre rattling in Syria, I appreciate the opportunity to show support for our men and women in uniform.  For those of us who do oppose war, we are afforded the opportunity to do so AND support the men and women who volunteer to lay their lives on the line for their country.  Soldiers don’t start wars.

I know, Salaita has First Amendment rights and must be afforded “academic freedom”.  He certainly has a right to free speech.  That does not mean taxpayers (or tuition paying parents) should be forced to subsidize it.  As for academic freedom, this doesn’t apply.  Salaita is paid to teach English.  He is a tenured professor at a large, state-supported university.  As such he is a representative of that school.

In a state with the proud military tradition of Virginia (a state which is one of two with state-supported military colleges) and which serves as the home base for tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines should the state taxpayer be subsidizing such an individual.  If Salaita worked in the private sector, he would be on his way out if he hadn’t been escorted out on Monday.

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Why You Can’t Trust the GOP Leadership

Red State’s Erick Erickson has a great synopsis of the ridiculous contortions the GOP’s congressional leadership has gone through over ObamaCare.  Before you call your Representative or Senator in response to some #dontfundobamacare tweet, you need to read it.

In our view the bottom line is pretty simple.  Using the debt ceiling as a political tool is irresponsible.  It was irresponsible last year and will always be so.  HOWEVER, using the appropriations process and / or continuing resolutions to block funding for ObamaCare (and a myriad of other wasteful spending programs) is responsible … and NECESSARY.

Any Republican who refuses to support a continuing resolution that excludes funding for ObamaCare isn’t deserving of your vote next year.  If GOP members of Congress can’t take a stand on this, then when will they take a stand on anything substantive?

If the government has to shut down, so be it.  The media tells us that Republicans lost big in 1996 over a shut down.  Of course, the facts say otherwise.  The GOP lost a handful of House seats, but picked up two Senate seats.  As for the presidency, the GOP lost by running a moderate against a perceived moderate Democrat that was universally loved by the media.  Sound familiar?

We can make a difference.  Demand that your members of Congress be responsible.  Demand that they use their constitutionally given appropriations power to stop ObamaCare.  Demand that they TAKE A STAND!  Don’t allow them to wiggle out of doing their duty.  Ignore the John Boehners, Eric Cantors, and Mitch McConnells of this world.  Follow the advice of Nancy Reagan and JUST SAY NO!

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Maryland Begins Common Core

Public schools begin classes in Maryland today.  The controversial “common core” federal education standards begin impacting student education with the beginning of this year.  Should parents be concerned?

In Maryland the answer is a surprising no.  Given that the Once Free State:

  • is already a poster child for nanny-statism
  • has an educational system run by the teachers’ union
  • has no viable school choice
  • believes that funding equates to quality in education
    the impacts of common core will be negligible (and possibly slightly positive) compared to what would have occurred otherwise.
    Repackaging Old Ideas

[Read more…]

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Was Slavery Wrong?

Not According to Obama Education Policy

Imagine a social studies  or history class in public school.  The discussion for today is slavery –

Johnny:  I think it was wrong to free the slaves.  Every white person should own at least one.

Teacher:  OK Johnny.  Can you please explain how you came to that conclusion?

Johnny:  Sure.  Look back at how things were when we had slavery.  Life was easier for people like me (we can assume Johnny is white).  We didn’t have the crime problems that we have now.  My dad is always complaining about high taxes.  If we still had slavery, we wouldn’t have to pay taxes for things like food stamps and welfare.

Teacher:  Very well reasoned Johnny.  I believe that you’re wrong, but I can certainly understand how you came to that answer.

Sound ridiculous?  Of course it is.  There’s just one problem.  With the Obama administration’s “Common Core” education initiative you can expect your children (if they are in public schools) to be taught this way.  Watch the video below:

4 x 3 = 11 in the world of “Common Core”

Mathematics is a priori knowledge.  It can be proven rationally, with no need for empirical evidence.  If little Johnny can get away with 3 x 4 = 11, then there is no possible argument that little Johnny can’t also hold a supposedly informed opinion that slavery was good, that the Holocaust  never occurred, women should not have the right to vote, or that Jim Crow had a net positive social impact.

We should be careful what we wish for … unless that wish is for Idiocracy.

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Gail Bartkovich to Retire

SALISBURY, MD – While Wicomico County councilwoman Gail Bartovich (R-3) has 15 1/2 months remaining in her current term, she has confirmed the worst kept secret in Wicomico County – she will not seek re-election.  Bartkovich is serving her third term on the council.

While many conservatives have had their disagreements with Bartkovich over the years, Bartkovich has been a reliably right-of-center voice for the county and her constituents in District 3.  More importantly, Bartkovich has consistently been the most well prepared council member during her tenure.  Voters may agree with her position, or disagree, but they can always be assured that she has taken a stand based on all of the relevant facts.

Since the beginning of this term it has been expected that Bartkovich would retire in 2014.  Bartkovich’s husband, surgeon John Bartkovich, is nearing retirement.  Bartkovich enjoys travel and spending time with her family, particularly her grandchildren.

Few voters truly understand the long hours a good council member spends on a job that pays little and is underappreciated.  Bartkovich has been a good council member.  If it takes Bartkovich longer than 24 hours to get back to a constituent, you can assume that she is ill or has a family emergency (our experience is that she usually returns your call in less than an hour).

District 1 councilwoman Sheree Sample-Hughes is retiring to unseat former ally Del. Rudy Cane (D-37A).  While she has not officially announced, it is also expected that councilwoman Stevie Prettyman (R-2) – the council’s longest serving member – will also retire in 2014.

At least one District 3 Republican plans on seeking Bartkovich’s seat.  They will have big shoes to fill if elected.

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Will New Council Rubber Stamp Ireton FY 2014 Budget Folly?

We’re Glad Jim Ireton Isn’t a Math Teacher

The newly elected Salisbury city council is on its way to adopting a budget for FY 2014.  Included is a tax rate hike of nearly 8% coupled with a DROP in water and sewer rates.  One thing that appears to be missing is mayor Jim Ireton’s promised “storm water authority”, now laughingly referred to across the country as the “Rain Tax”.

Newly minted council president Jake Day is backpedaling on his campaign commitment not to support a tax hike.  He now claims that he won’t support a tax hike above constant yield.  We’ll give him that one (on style) since the net affect of the rate increase should be revenue neutral.  We wonder if the people who stayed home at the last election will be as forgiving since a sizable number of them will see their taxes rise?

The section of Ireton’s proposed budget that disturbs us most is a cut in the water and sewer rates.  WHAT?  A self-identified conservative is against a cut in government fees (water and sewer fees are not really a tax)?  Sorry to disappoint, but … YES!

Here’s the problem.  Salisbury is showing a sizable surplus in its Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund.  HOWEVER, Salisbury is having to PAY TWICE for its failed waste water treatment plant (WWTP).  By cutting rates now, the city will have to raise them that much more in the future.  The problem is simple.  Ireton hopes to justify future general fund tax hikes because he’s decreased the water and sewer rates.  Given that Ireton makes Barack Obama look like a Reaganite, he just can’t sit idly by and watch tens of millions sit unspent, even if it is in Salisbury’s best interest.  That money needs to be SPENT!  Sadly for Ireton, he can’t spend water and sewer money for every fly by night leftist scheme that comes down the pike, even if he thinks that Jake Day will rubber stamp Ireton’s every whim. (The jury is still out on Day, we all know that Laura Mitchell and Shanie Shields will rubber stamp all sorts of craziness.)

[Read more…]

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Pollitt, Board of Ed Confuse Public Hearing with NPR

SALISBURY, MD – As Wicomico County homeowners again face an increase in their property tax rates, County Executive Rick Pollitt held a “public hearing” on his soon-to-be-released FY 2014 county budget.  It should be noted that no real budget detail was provided for citizens to comment on.

Rather than unveil his budget, Pollitt and the Wicomico County Board of Education used the event to call for more spending on Education.  While I came late to the event it appears that little was missed.  When I asked two individuals after the event if I missed anything of substance, the responses were nearly identical – “If you heard one teacher speak, then you pretty much heard the whole thing.”

I recognize that Pollitt again faces tough budget decisions.  However, repeated acts of political theater do not solve problems.  While the Daily Times is giving prominent coverage to Delmarva Public Radio’s current “begathon”, Pollitt needs to realize that public hearings are not supposed to be begathons.  They require information for open citizen input.  Given that this event was held without providing that information (like his proposed budget), there is no point other than to politicize an already volatile issue.

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Can Marylanders Afford Martin O’Malley’s National Ambitions?

Billions in spending increases.  Billions in tax hikes.  Same-sex marriage.  Repeal of the death penalty.  “Green energy” subsidized by taxpayers.  A state with already limited gun rights transformed into one of the most restrictive states in the nation.  These are just a few examples of Martin O’Malley’s political “accomplishments”.

When O’Malley first ran for governor he was hailed as a “moderate” and “pragmatist”.  Kennedyesque – more John than Teddy.  O’Malley wouldn’t touch issues such a gay marriage or more restrictive gun control with a ten foot pole.

While he never hid his disdain for the death penalty, he attributed this to his Roman Catholic faith.  I sympathize.  I too am opposed to the death penalty – because of my pro-life beliefs.  Sadly, O’Malley doesn’t allow the Church’s teachings to interfere with Democrat orthodoxy.

What happened?  Barack Hussein Obama.  In 2008 the Democrat party abandoned the center-left compromise which delivered two terms to Bill Clinton.  National Democrats became more radical than in 1972.  O’Malley, who has never hid his personal ambition and has always demonstrated fluid political and moral compasses, moved farther to the left.

[Read more…]

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DelMarVa Dealings – Where the Libs Go to Get Their Dough

Much is being made about a possible 2014 match between incumbent Maryland senator Jim Mathias (D-38) and Del. Mike McDermott (R-38B).  While McDermott would have to overcome Mathias’ huge money advantage (Senate President Mike Miller will THROW hundreds of thousands of dollars Mathias’ way), a Mathias vs. McDermott race will show the unfathomable divide between “Annapolis Values” vs. “Eastern Shore Values”.

Listen to McDermott on the recently passed budget bill:

While I am a fan of Public Radio Delmarva (actually WSDL), I don’t support Maryland tax dollars going to support it.  While I actually believe that SU needs a new library, I can’t imagine where $135 million is going.  What about all of that money in the SU foundation?  Why can’t it go to help build and equip a new library?

If you attended the recent town hall on Gov. O’Malley’s gun bill you would have witnessed a stark contrast in approaches.  McDermott has FOUGHT this bill from the start.  Mathias just voted against it (I would suggest for political reasons).  You would have seen and heard the passion McDermott brings to this issue.  While Mathias wasn’t in attendance, he sent an envoy to read a letter.  The categorical difference was apparent to all – McDermott was fighting to protect one of our most sacred liberties while Mathias was tinkering around the edges to make a loathsome bill slightly less loathsome.

As a political junkie, I think a Mathias – McDermott race in 2014 will be exciting.  As a citizen of Maryland, I believe that a McDermott candidacy and victory will send a message to those here and in Annapolis who believe that giving up our God-given liberty in pursuit of a few cups from the public trough is a worthwhile pursuit.

DelMarVa Dealings appears each Monday and discusses local politics and its impact on the Delmarva peninsula.

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Probably The BEST Argument Ever Offered Against Gun Control

We dare any gun control proponent to attempt to refute this.

Transcript PDF

H/T – David Anderson @ DelawarePolitics.net

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Media Monday – April 8, 2013

WGMD HOST NOT READY FOR PRIME (OR ANY OTHER) TIME

When I’m cruising through Delaware (or northern Worcester or Wicomico counties) I often bump my dial over one tick from WICO-FM to hear what’s going on at WGMD-FM.  While I like talk radio, I prefer some local content and WICO is now 99.9% syndicated. (two public radio stations are now the only source of real local content on the Lower Shore)

Two Sundays ago I happened to tune in and heard some guy named Bill Rogers spouting the most ridiculous nonsense this side of MSNBC.  The problem?  Rogers claims to be a conservative.  Personally, I think we should trade this guy to the left for a future third round draft pick.

What was Rogers’ crime?  The guy’s entire show (I only listened for about 90 minutes while I was driving to Seaford and back) was an attack on Libertarians.  Sure, everyone has a right to their opinion.  I don’t disagree with Rogers’ premise that voting Libertarian is often equivalent to voting Democrat, but Rogers’ reasoning was based on a false premise that I found quite offensive.

Rogers claimed that Libertarians were foolish because of their stance on gay marriage.  He specifically claimed that same-sex marriage laws would require churches to marry same-sex couples.  He didn’t say this once either.  Rogers must of repeated this at least a dozen times in the period I was listening.

It’s bad enough that my party (the GOP) is systematically driving libertarian-minded voters away, now we have a supposedly conservative, local talk host trying to do the same with what are basically lies.

I will concede that the day may come that some court, even the US Supreme Court, may make such an outrageous ruling.  However, that day has not arrived … YET.  It’s bad enough that nominally Christian denominations such as the Episcopal Church perform what are de facto gay weddings.  We have enough battles to fight in the present.  People like Rogers don’t need to make up problems.  If he is a conservative, as he claims, he also doesn’t need to deliberately offend a portion of the electorate we need to win.

PARKER, CLAYBAUGH SHOW TRUE COLORS … AGAIN

[Read more…]

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Bad Economic Lessons – It Must Be Budget Time in Maryland

The state of Maryland has just passed a $37 billion budget, chock full of the expected tax hikes and wasteful spending.  Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt will unveil his proposed budget on Thursday during his annual dog and pony show at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center.  We can expect a proposed $0.07 rate hike.  In a lead up to this, Wicomico School’s superintendent John Fredericksen provides an op-ed in today’s Daily Times which again proves that someone with so little understanding of basic economic principles should not be in charge of so much money.

Public schools are important to a community on multiple levels.  The perception of high quality schools impacts whether or not a county or city is a desirable place to call home.  That same perception can even impact whether or not businesses choose to locate in an area.  It is a widely held belief that quality public schools impact an area’s crime rate.  There is also the moral argument, which is probably the strongest of all, that we owe our next generation a decent education.

Yet, Fredericksen makes none of these arguments.  Instead he tells us that Wicomico County’s public schools are an “economic engine” which grows our local economy.  While I realize that none of Fredericksen’s degrees are in something as practical as finance or economics, that does not excuse ignorance about something so basic.  I would be happy to suggest several easy reads which might get him up to speed.

Fredericksen’s argument is equivalent to Nancy Pelosi’s laughable statement that unemployment benefits are an economic development tool.  Government spending, whether on education, unemployment benefit, or food stamps is a transfer of wealth – NOT a creator of wealth.  In the case of state or local spending, where the government cannot run a deficit, this is even more so.  Money taken from individuals and businesses for government spending could be put to better use by those individuals or businesses.  It could be invested in new plant or equipment.  It can create jobs through the CREATION of wealth rather than through its transfer.

Does this mean that public schools are bad?  No.  We, as a civilized society, have decided that funding public education is something we need to do.  Unfortunately, people like Fredericksen attempt to equate spending ON education with quality OF education.  Unfortunately people like Fredericksen want you to believe that the spending, in and of itself, is the net benefit to our community.

It’s little wonder that Wicomico taxpayers have such little respect for Fredericksen or the system he is charged with running.  That’s the real shame.

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The Observer – The Truth About Austerity … Everywhere But the U. S.

It seems that simple, basic economic truth is coming home to roost in the European socialist utopia.  It’s already occurred in Canada.  Why can’t our own politicians grasp the obvious?

In a study released Friday at the annual conference of the Royal Economics Society, economists Luca Agnello and  Vitor Castro of Italy and Ricardo Sousa of Portugal tracked austerity programs from 1978 – 2009.  They found that the best programs shoot for the greatest deficit reductions in the 2nd and 3rd years of a program.  They also show empirical data that opposition mounts to austerity programs lasting more than nine years.

Yet, here in the United States, our politicians are unwilling to make real cuts to government spending or to reform entitlement spending.  Don’t expect too much media coverage of this study; it violates the current political narrative too much to receive serious consideration.  Among the common sense findings:

  • Reducing public spending lowered deficits more than raising taxes
  • Trading nations are usually more successful at restoring their public finances
  • Low interest rates and “sound macro-economic” conditions improve the odds of financial consolidations
  • Spending cuts are typically deepest in the second and third years of austerity programs before rising again in the final years

IMAGINE – Reducing Spending is MORE EFFECTIVE than Raising Taxes!  I wonder what Barack Obama’s reaction would be if he was actually made aware of this study?

Lord Keynes gets a bad rap these days.  If he had lived to see the mess that was made from his General Theory he would be ashamed to see what the term “Keynesian economics” has come to mean.  Rationalism reigns.  Liberal politicians and economists tell us that if you spend X the economy will improve.  After spending X, we don’t see the desired result.  What is the left’s answer?  We didn’t spend enough! (don’t worry, Paul Krugman didn’t receive his Nobel Prize for spouting this macroeconomic drivel)

Common sense has fallen to men and women who fancy themselves gods.  While this statement may seem extreme, it is fact.  Omniscience and omnipresence are required to “manage” a national economy.  That’s either Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” or a god.  Since most of these folks don’t believe in either Smith or God …

H/T – D. J. McGuire @ Bearing Drift

The Observer appears on weekends in the DelMarVa Observer and provides commentary on a variety of issues.

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The Spectator – What Americans Have to Fear from Martin O’Malley

Maryland governor Martin O’Malley wants to be President of the United States.  He’s term limited as governor.  He’s spent his life as a political executive – first mayor of Baltimore and then a two-term governor.  His temperament just doesn’t fit the life of a legislator.  So … what’s a guy to do?

In O’Malley’s case he’s looking towards 2016 –  when he leaves the governor’s office he’ll have a year to get geared up for the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.  No slouch, O’Malley is already starting to build an organization so he’s not going to be left in the dust in this age of the infinite presidential cycle.

O’Malley has been busy burnishing his lefty bona fides for the activist crowd that selects Democrat (and Republican) presidential nominees.  Here in Maryland we know – we’re paying the freight.  For eight years O’Malley has punished the Once Free State in order to craft his statist gravitas.

In less than 400 well crafted words, the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore explains what our nation has to fear:

  • 34 Tax Increases since taking office (and he has one more session to go)
  • O’Malley has cost Marylanders an additional $3.1 Billion each year in office.
  • One of the nations worst gun-control measures
  • Repeal of the death penalty
  • Gay marriage (civil unions, we don’t need no stinking civil unions)

The prospect of an O’Malley presidency gives new meaning to “Fear the Turtle” (the diamondback terrapin is the mascot of the University of Maryland).  O’Malley may be doing all of the right things to win the hearts of the leftist elites, but his policies have been dangerous for Maryland and will be even more dangerous for our nation.

The Spectator appears on Fridays, focusing on issues which impact our nation and the world.

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Media Monday–March 25, 2013

SHOWING BIAS IN A BETTER WAY?

The Daily Times seems hell bent on queering this year’s Salisbury mayoral / council elections just like they’ve tried every other time in recent memory.  Will they be successful?  We’ll know next week.

After a series of scandals destroyed what little credibility remained at Salisbury’s Daily Times, new publisher Tom Claybaugh and managing editor Michael Kilian faced a tough choice:

  1. Report the news as fairly as possible (I don’t believe that anyone is 100% objective) and be honest on the op-ed pages (if you are going to claim to be the “voice of the community”, then print op-ed which reflect this).
  2. Continue the paper’s old bias, just try to be more like their big city rivals and commit more “sins of omission” rather than print easily verifiable lies; and certainly don’t encourage reporters to actively participate in their own stories.

All the News That We WANT to Print

    To most of us, choice number 1 is obviously the best path.  In an industry that appears to be dying, regaining credibility amongst readers is a good place to start if you want to rebuild.  The

Daily Times

    can claim some good young reporters.  They’ve shown that, when allowed, they can provide good, accurate coverage of local news.  Alas, Claybaugh and Kilian have decided on a darker path.  Rather than report all of the news, the DT seems determined to only run stories which aid their preferred candidates.
    How can I make such a claim?  Haven’t they run stories critical of Jim Ireton?  One!  Haven’t they run stories critical of Jake Day?  Less than one.  Who really cares that the Jakester has a heavy foot?
    I’m not claiming that the DT has savaged Joe Albero or Debbie Campbell.  They haven’t.  That’s the

Daily Times

    of old.  Besides, like Katherine Crowell four years ago, I don’t believe that Jeremy Cox would allow his name to be put on pieces that are riddled with lies and innuendo.  No, the DT is playing the stealth game.

Where is the story on Joe Albero’s economic development plan?  Where is a thoughtful analysis of Jake Day’s slick manifesto (which you can’t even download from his site anymore)?  Where is an analysis of Jim Ireton’s attempt to raise taxes (more than once) while he claims that he never raised your taxes (worth at least four Pinnochio’s over at the WaPo)?  Where is the story about Ireton and Day’s lack of basic math skills (how do to add 500 residential units downtown, plus commercial space when you have less than 100 available parking spots (after you have sold off all of the riverfront lots – which has merit – plus Lot 1 between the library and the plaza?).  WHERE is the story about national real estate interests doing a mailing  two mailings for Jake Day?

They’re no where to be found.  Why?  Mr. Kilian doesn’t want the public to learn too much about the candidates running for office.  If they did, the DT’s favored candidates wouldn’t stand much of a chance.  Unfortunately, things are worse on the op-ed side of the shop thanks to Mr. Claybaugh and op-ed editor Susan Parker.

WE Decide the News, WE Decide YOUR Opinion

Have you bothered to ask yourself why there haven’t been many letters to the editor in support of Joe Albero or Debbie Campbell?  The answer is simple … the Daily Times won’t print them.

[Read more…]

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City for Sale

AVAILABLE After April 2nd
Small City, Population 30,000+
Waterfront Opportunities Available
City Government willing to SUBSIDIZE Real Estate Development
Contact Jake Day

That’s the REAL message that showed up in voters mailboxes yesterday in a mailer from the National Association of Realtors.

When was the last time that a NATIONAL Political Action Committee got involved in a LOCAL race in a city the size of Salisbury?

If you read Salisbury council candidate Jake Day’s “plan” the reason is clear – Day’s “solutions” for Salisbury’s local economy are focused almost exclusively on DOWNTOWN and on SUBSIDIZING RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT.

Is Jake Day channeling the political corpse of the previous Salisbury administration?

  • Developer Reimbursements
  • Failed TIF’s
  • FREE or SUBSIDIZED Capacity Fees

Are Day and his backers hoping that putting a NEW FACE on an OLD PROBLEM will make voters forget that they are still paying for past mistakes and that Jake Day wants the Salisbury taxpayer to DOUBLE DOWN?

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Tri-County Council – An Efficient Use of Your Tax Dollars?

Next week the Tri-County Council will hold its regular meeting.  Where?  The safe assumption would be that the meeting would be held at the organization’s new $10 MILLION facility at the corner of US 50 and Walston Switch Road.

You would be wrong.  The Tri-County Council is holding its meeting at … a brew pub.

130322_TCCMeeting_Evo_(600x380)

Why are YOUR tax dollars – and that’s what funds the Tri-County Council – being used to hold meetings at a brew pub when you have already paid for perfectly good meeting space?

Wicomico County councilwoman Sheree Sample-Hughes is the chairman of the Tri-County Council.  Maybe you should ask her.

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Balkanizing Salisbury

Imagine you lived in a city carved up into little wards or districts.  Then imagine that your city council members are given “discretionary” funds to dole out for “projects” or to fix potholes and street lights.  It sounds like Chicago, New York, or Washington, D.C.  Well if Jake Day is elected to the Salisbury City Council, this is what he has in store for you.

Rotten Boroughs

Across the sea in Great Britain, they used to have “rotten” or “pocket” boroughs.  These were parliamentary constituencies (districts to us Yanks) that were, in effect, controlled by one person (or a small group of people).  The British wisely changed their election practices in the 19th century.

At last month’s Democrat Club meeting Mr. Day announced that if he was elected he (along with councilwomen Laura Mitchell and Shanie Shields) would re-visit re-districting and change the council to a seven member body elected from individual districts.  He had previously announced at the Salisbury Chamber / PACE forum that he supported a seven member council.  (NOTE:  this would occur REGARDLESS of who is elected mayor as charter changes cannot be vetoed.)

What’s wrong with that?  If you divide Salisbury into seven districts which are roughly equal by population you will have created FOUR rotten boroughs.  Think about it.  Salisbury would be governed by AT LEAST four districts where the total votes cast to elect the majority of council would be less than half (probably less than a third) of the votes cast to elect the other seats.

The facts are simple.  The current District 1 simply doesn’t show up to vote in city elections.  Neighborhoods such as Church Street / Doverdale, the Presidents and Princeton Homes don’t show up to vote in city elections.  Residents of Camden, the Park area, the neighborhoods along North and South Schumaker Drives – they show up to vote.  Yet – they will be effectively disenfranchised when it comes to city council representation.  It is easily conceivable that you will have council members (from a majority of districts) elected with fewer than 100 votes.  Some could be elected with fewer than 50!

Bottom line – a group like SAPOA could literally buy a majority of the city council ON THE CHEAP!  Is this YOUR vision for a better Salisbury?

Slush Funds

[Read more…]

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Balkanizing Salisbury

Imagine you lived in a city carved up into little wards or districts.  Then imagine that your city council members are given “discretionary” funds to dole out for “projects” or to fix potholes and street lights.  It sounds like Chicago, New York, or Washington, D.C.  Well if Jake Day is elected to the Salisbury City Council, this is what he has in store for you.

Rotten Boroughs

Across the sea in Great Britain, they used to have “rotten” or “pocket” boroughs.  These were parliamentary constituencies (districts to us Yanks) that were, in effect, controlled by one person (or a small group of people).  The British wisely changed their election practices in the 19th century.

At last month’s Democrat Club meeting Mr. Day announced that if he was elected he (along with councilwomen Laura Mitchell and Shanie Shields) would re-visit re-districting and change the council to a seven member body elected from individual districts.  He had previously announced at the Salisbury Chamber / PACE forum that he supported a seven member council.  (NOTE:  this would occur REGARDLESS of who is elected mayor as charter changes cannot be vetoed.)

What’s wrong with that?  If you divide Salisbury into seven districts which are roughly equal by population you will have created FOUR rotten boroughs.  Think about it.  Salisbury would be governed by AT LEAST four districts where the total votes cast to elect the majority of council would be less than half (probably less than a third) of the votes cast to elect the other seats.

The facts are simple.  The current District 1 simply doesn’t show up to vote in city elections.  Neighborhoods such as Church Street / Doverdale, the Presidents and Princeton Homes don’t show up to vote in city elections.  Residents of Camden, the Park area, the neighborhoods along North and South Schumaker Drives – they show up to vote.  Yet – they will be effectively disenfranchised when it comes to city council representation.  It is easily conceivable that you will have council members (from a majority of districts) elected with fewer than 100 votes.  Some could be elected with fewer than 50!

Bottom line – a group like SAPOA could literally buy a majority of the city council ON THE CHEAP!  Is this YOUR vision for a better Salisbury?

Slush Funds

[Read more…]

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Jim Ireton’s Work Schedule

Yesterday we highlighted Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton’s interview on Delmarva Public Radio.  In addition to being scarily anti-business in his rhetoric, Ireton also made the following comment:

I get up every day and barrel at 110%.

Really Jim?  What do you “barrel” at?

For the moment, let’s ignore the debate as to whether a “part-time” mayor can successfully operate a $51 million enterprise. (I believe the record indicates a big NO on that one.)  Let’s ask two other questions:

  1. Is Jim Ireton really a part-time mayor?
  2. Is Jim Ireton really devoting the time he supposedly spends as mayor to making Salisbury a better place to live and to work?

If your definition of being “part-time” is spending one second or more per week, month, etc. to the job of being mayor I’d have to give Ireton a free pass.  However, IF (like me) you define the term as spending 20 – 30 hours per week at a task then the answer is clearly no.  This ties directly in to question two.

For four years, and particularly during the last two, Jim Ireton has spent a fair piece of his “mayor time” engaged in political grandstanding, partisan politics, and pushing an agenda that is not even tangentially connected to making Salisbury a better place to live and to work.

In August, 2011 Ireton took time out of his supposedly busy day to picket the Salisbury office of Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD).  He has time to picket, but not to sit down with city council and engage in civil, honest discussion of issues facing our city?  Did this make Salisbury a better place to live and to work?

In June, 2011 Ireton called a press conference to attack the city council majority for not backing his planned luxury apartment project at “The Bricks”.  In his press conference Ireton implies that council members Debbie Campbell, Terry Cohen, and Tim Spies are racists (sound familiar?) and intimates that racial discord could follow (with councilwomen Laura Mitchell and Shanie Shields cheering him on).  Ireton’s rantings before the press are numerous, and (sadly) legendary.  Do any of these things make Salisbury a better place to live and to work?

Ireton has travelled to Annapolis to lobby for issues such as gay marriage.  Unless Ireton has some undisclosed plan to make Salisbury a mecca for gay marriage (with the tourism dollars that would follow) we have to ask – Do any of these things make Salisbury a better place to live and to work?

Ireton has lent his name and the prestige of his office to a campaign to strip gun rights from our citizens.  Do any of these things make Salisbury a better place to live and to work? (Criminals will still get guns.  C’mon … They’re CRIMINALS)

So … what’s your definition of “part-time”.

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