Kilmer Files for County Council Seat

SALISBURY, MD – It didn’t take long for someone to file to replace Wicomico councilwoman Stevie Prettyman.  Scholar and local conservative activist Marc Kilmer has filed to seek the Republican nomination for the District 2 council seat currently held by the four term incumbent.

Kilmer, a Senior Fellow at the Maryland Public Policy Institute, is a former U.S. Senate staffer, former president of the Wicomico County Republican Club and served as a member of the county’s charter review commission.  A graduate of Hillsdale College, Kilmer lives on Nanticoke Road with his wife Melissa and two young children.

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Pope Francis Overturns 2000 Years of Christian Doctrine

ROME – For two thousand years Christians have believed that Jesus Christ died for their sins and that the only path to heaven lay in acceptance of Christ as the Son of God and Savior.  London’s Daily Telegraph has reported that Pope Francis, in an op-ed written for the Italian daily La Republicca, has announced that:

"The question for those who do not believe in God is to follow their own conscience. Sin, even for a non-believer, is when one goes against one’s conscience.

"To listen and to follow your conscience means that you understand the difference between good and evil."

This follows a homily earlier this year where the Pope stated that even atheists could be welcomed into heaven.  It appears that His Holiness may be looking to take the Roman Catholic Church down the same path as the Episcopal Church.  He should carefully examine how that has worked out.

Acceptance of Christ is no long required for salvation?  We need only follow our own conscience?  Like dogs, do all sociopaths go to heaven?

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The Downzoning of Wicomico County

SALISBURY, MD – Five years ago Wicomico citizens fought a pitched battle to preserve their property rights.  On one side were farmers, large landowners, real estate developers, and a large group of ordinary citizens who actually believed in personal liberty and property rights.  On the other side was Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt, several members of the Wicomico County Council, the state of Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and every enviro-leftist in Wicomico County.  Dubbed the “Big Land Grab”, Pollitt and his political allies attempted to strip farmers and large land owners of their right to develop all or part of their property under current law.  It was by one vote that the attempt was thwarted.

Move forward to today.  What Pollitt and his enviro-left allies couldn’t achieve openly has come to pass under the cloak of inaction.  By refusing to adopt a tier map Pollitt and the Wicomico County Council have effectively downzoned all agricultural land in Wicomico.

Didn’t Wicomico voters elect a strong majority of pro-property rights council members in the last election?  So they said.  The problem is that the de facto Pollitt majority on council seems to believe that by NOT acting, they can provide themselves cover.

The county council could have taken action on their own.  They could have adopted a tier map that minimized the damage done to property rights by Pollitt’s pals in Annapolis.  Instead, the de facto Pollitt majority (ironically lead by a “Republican” farmer, Matt Holloway) has allowed the County Executive to lead them by the nose.  Pollitt wants an invitation-only meeting of “stakeholders” to “discuss” the issue.  Pollitt took his own sweet time in scheduling this sit-down and then postponed so it wouldn’t interfere with his recent junket to Asia.

Who are these “stakeholders”?  County administrator Wayne Strausburg has been slow in releasing the list as requested by stalwart conservative councilman Joe Holloway.  Our understanding is that Pollitt’s enviro-left pals dominate the panel.

In the meantime, Rick Pollitt has achieved by inaction what he couldn’t achieve through legislative action.

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In Delaware It’s Only Tax Money!

WILMINGTON, DE – What happens when a local non-profit wants to invest $100,000 renovating a local museum?  The county government rejects the help of course!

That is what has occurred recently in New Castle County when a local group offered to spend $100,000 on the historic Rockwood Mansion.  Why?  The PRIVATE group was not going pay a “prevailing wage” on the work.  Delaware Rep. Danny Short and Delaware Rep. Deborah Hudson have penned an op-ed in response to Delaware’s system of kow-towing to unions at the taxpayers’ expense.

Yet one more method of the government queering the free market, prevailing wage laws are designed to encourage the hiring of union contractors.  If non-union contractors are forced to pay union-scale wages (the “prevailing wage”), governments are encouraged to hire union contractors.  There is no cost advantage to hiring a non-union contractor and non-union contractors don’t (as a rule) picket your job site.

In the case of the Rockwood Mansion, the project would be undertaken by a private group.  However, the government owns the property.  The New Castle County council and executive have decided that the prevailing wage must be paid even though Friends of Rockwood Mansion are a private, not-for-profit organization.  (The state law only requires “prevailing wage” on GOVERNMENT capital projects).

So, what’s the result?  An historic treasure won’t receive the renovation it desperately needs.  When it does, the cost will be far higher than it would be without the burden of the prevailing wage law.  And … Delaware taxpayers will have to pick up the tab rather than a group of private citizens who ponied up for the renovation to begin with.

God Bless the AFL-CIO and their lackeys in the Delaware Legislature.

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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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You Can’t Manage An Economy

WASHINGTON, DC – Big Labor, a leading backer of the Barack Obama administration and the Democrat party, is finally starting to learn that the government cannon manage an economy.  Their lesson?  ObamaCare’s 40% tax on “cadillac” health insurance plans.

Last week, just prior to the Labor Day holiday, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they would be ending their affiliation with the AFL-CIO over the union umbrella’s support of ObamaCare and the tax on “cadillac plans”.  Other labor unions are denouncing the law as they learn that their members will be adversely affected by ObamaCare.  The Democrat promise that all Americans could keep their existing plans if they wanted has rung hollow.

While more  employers across the country are cutting worker hours below the 30 hour “full time” threshold for ObamaCare, others are abandoning their traditional health plans in favor of high deductible Health Savings Account plans (HSA’s).  Ironically, it was the left that attacked these plans during the first decade of the 21st century.

HSA’s are cheaper, in part, because employees have greater control over their health care spending:

John Goodman, a longtime proponent, is sometimes called the father of health savings accounts. He explains that with such accounts "the employee controls a lot of the money, makes a lot of his own decisions."

He says that saves money because, as he puts it, "we’re always more careful when we’re spending our own money than when we’re spending someone else’s money."

Increased regulation and higher taxes distort the market for health care, which encompasses 17% of our nation’s economy.  Big Labor, and other traditional Democrat allies may finally be learning that Washington’s “Brain Trust” simply cannot manage such a large portion of the world’s largest economy.  Despite continual attack from government, the “invisible hand” of the free market always comes out on top.  Unfortunately, the distorting effects of government, labor unions, and corporatist business interests do impact the free market; yielding results that few proponents can anticipate.

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Tragedy at SU

SALISBURY, MD – A murder / suicide at the 100 block of Onley Road has left two men dead and a young woman severely wounded.  The Daily Times reports that the crime was related to a domestic violence incident:

Police said they are still trying to piece together the details of what they believe to be an incident of domestic violence. At least one other person who was in the home was being questioned about what had occurred, police said.

Late Tuesday, Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis confirmed the man killed by the shooter was former Salisbury University student Charles Abbott of Hebron. Next of kin has been notified of the tragedy, he said.

The wounded woman, whose name has not been made public, was receiving medical treatment in the Shock Trauma unit of a Baltimore hospital, Lewis said earlier during an 8:30 p.m. news conference outside the crime scene.

The shootings occurred at about 6 p.m., authorities said.

One victim was a student at Salisbury University.  One victim was a former student. Our prayers go out to the families of the victims.

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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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3/4 of Americans Are Racists?

WASHINGTON, DC – Are 3/4 of Americans really racists?  That’s a tough a pretty tough feat given that non-Hispanic whites make up just over 60% of the US population; yet the left does seem to believe this.  Why?  A recent Washington Post poll shows that 74% of Americans support photo ID to vote.  According to such conservative stalwarts as Barack Obama and Eric Holder, requiring a photo ID is a blatant attempt to suppress minority voter turnout … de facto racism.

I guess Congress will have to appropriate money for mandatory “sensitivity training”.

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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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Maryland Phosphorous Regulations on Temporary Hold

Pollitt and Allies Dodge Another Political Bullet

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Today’s scheduled hearing on “emergency” implementation of new phosphorous regulations has been canceled.  Maryland farmers will receive a temporary reprieve from rules which would have prohibited use of chicken manure on many fields.  In addition, many Maryland elected officials are breathing a sigh of relief while some will be taking credit for coming to the aid of Maryland farmers.

With agriculture such a big component of the Eastern Shore economy, you would think that elected officials would race to come to the aid of farmers and poultry processors.  Yet when Wicomico County councilman Joe Holloway (R-5) proposed that the council and County Executive Rick Pollitt take a stand and petition the state on this matter, only councilwoman Gail Bartkovich (R-3) and councilman Bob Culver (R-AtLarge) stepped up to the plate.  When Holloway (not to be confused with council president Matt Holloway (R-AtLarge)) publicized the fact that council and Pollitt did not support standing up for agriculture, a rush to the microphones started in earnest.  Matt Holloway announced that he would be testifying on behalf of farmers.  A few days later the Rick Pollitt / Matt Holloway alliance changed its stance to petition the state.  Plans were made to send County Administrator Wayne Strausburg to Annapolis with Council Administrator Matt Creamer in tow.

Now there has been a temporary reprieve.  Wicomico farmers and those whose livelihood depends on agriculture should continue to pay close attention.  They can’t continue to depend on officials like Joe Holloway, Bartkovich, and Culver being able to embarrass Pollitt and his council majority into standing up for what is right.

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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 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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Should Salisbury Taxpayers Pay More for City Services?

SALISBURY, MD – It appears that Salisbury City Council president Jake Day and councilwoman Shanie Shields want taxpayers to pay more for city services.  According to the Daily Times’ Jeremy Cox, Day and Shields are pushing the Ireton administration to move forward with a plan to increase the city’s payroll by approximately $750,000 per year.  This 8.5% increase is based on a study performed by Evergreen Solutions, LLC.

Day wants to quickly move forward in raising the city’s payroll:

“Anything we consider implementing we should implement it quickly for sure,” Day said during a council work session. “We value our people like any organization, and want to compensate them fairly and bring the best here and keep the best here.”

Given that Day has repeatedly claimed that he is opposed to raising taxes beyond constant yield, voters should ask how he plans to pay for this raise.

Councilwoman Terry Cohen asked about the possibility of merit based raises.  According to Evergreen, city workers are opposed to pay raises based on merit.  This is not surprising given that government employees are not used to being paid based on performance.

Taxpayers may be interested to know that Wicomico County continues to suffer one of the highest unemployment rates in Maryland.  Given that there are numerous persons standing in line to fill any position left by a disaffected city employee, why should raises be given at this point in time?

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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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Who Will Replace E. J. Pipkin?

CENTREVILLE, MD – Maryland Senator E. J. Pipkin (R-36) has resigned to enjoy graduate school and no state income tax at Southern Methodist University.  The feeding frenzy to replace the center / right Republican has begun with thirteen men and one woman applying for his seat:

Steven J. Arentz    Queen Anne’s County
R. Scott Bramble    Cecil County
Frank W. Frohn    Queen Anne’s County
John L. Graham    Queen Anne’s County
Stephen S. Hershey, Jr.    Queen Anne’s County
Andrew Langer    Queen Anne’s County
Timothy McCluskey    Queen Anne’s County
Audrey E. Scott    Queen Anne’s County
Michael D. Smigiel, Sr.    Cecil County
Richard A. Sossi    Queen Anne’s County
Robert A. Thornton, Jr.    Caroline County
John L. Walter    Queen Anne’s County
John J. Walton, Jr.    Caroline County
Eric S. Wargotz    Queen Anne’s County

Two incumbent delegates (Smigiel and Hershey) and one former delegate (Sossi) have thrown their names in the pot along with former MDGOP chairwoman Audrey Scott and the Eastern Shore version of Harold Stassen – Dr. Eric Wargotz.  Probably the most interesting name on the list is Andrew Langer.

Langer is a strong, libertarian leaning, conservative.  Langer is principled but not an ideologue.  This would allow the 36th district to have a strong conservative senator who could also get thing done. (While I agree with much of his analysis, Monoblogue’s Michael Swartz characterizes Langer as a “bomb thrower”.  I have to respectfully disagree.)

While Scott was an excellent party chairman, another moderate senator is NOT what Maryland (or the MDGOP) needs.

What about Smigiel and Hershey?  Maryland is one of the few states where delegates serve the same term lengths as senators.  Why give up seniority in the House?

The coming weeks will be interesting.  Each county central committee (Caroline, Cecil, Kent, and Queen Anne’s) gets one vote.  However, most of the district’s population is in Queen Anne’s.  Given the breadth of candidates, Pipkin’s successor should come from QAC.  The question is who.

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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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Why Is IRS Going After Job Creators?

WASHINGTON, DC – While President Barack Obama and members of Congress from both parties claim that job creation is a national priority, the federal government is making life more difficult for the nation’s job creation engine – small business.  According to CNN, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is targeting small businesses that generate a disproportionate amount of revenue paid for by credit cards.

The IRS claims to be using “industry data” to determine who to target.  There are just a few problems with this notion.  Such data is always historical and doesn’t reflect the rapid technological and demographic changes our economy is going through.  The hot dog stand operator of ten years ago never even thought about accepting credit cards.  How could he (or she)?  Today that same business owner simply pops a small (and amazingly affordable) device like the Square or Intuit’s GoPayment into their smart phone and VOILA – customers can now pay with a credit or debit card!

Twenty years ago, selling your wares via the internet were the province of larger businesses who could afford to invest in the programming and infrastructure to put together an online store.  Today, millions of small businesses sell products and services online.  They receive their payments via services like PayPal or … credit card.

Let’s not forget the demographic changes we have experienced at an accelerated pace.  Today, fewer and fewer consumers carry cash.  It is assumed that they can pay for every product and service they will ever need via credit card, debit card, or online debit from their bank accounts.  Talk to a college student or a recent graduate – most have never written a check!  Cash?  Forget it!  In case you haven’t noticed, you don’t even need cash to buy a Coke from a vending machine anymore.

Why worry if you’re not cheating on your taxes?  If you have to ask, you obviously have never owned a business.  Time spent responding to the IRS is time that could be spent building your business.  Money spent on CPA’s is money that be spent building your business.  That means CREATING JOBS!

Most of us will acknowledge that the IRS has a job to do.  However, we should hope that our Federal government would be more judicious in using its power; particularly as it impacts the growth of our fragile national, state, and local economies.

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When Subsidies Go Bad

PORTLAND, OR – What happens when the taxpayers loan a company $10 million and provide another $20 million in other incentives in return for a PROMISED 450 jobs?  If you are an Oregon taxpayer and the company is SoloPower, the answer appears … NOT MUCH.

Like the better known case of Solyndra, Oregon taxpayers are waiting to find out if they will ever recover any of their hard earned money after the San Jose, CA based firm has announced that it is closing shop.


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Lawyers Before Funerals

WEST, TX – As the death toll has risen to 15 from last week’s explosion at a West, TX fertilizer plant explosion the lawsuits are already starting.  While the first funeral for a victim of the blast was yesterday, the first of at least five (5) lawsuits was filed on April 19th.

For attorneys, burying the dead seems to come a distant second after filing lawsuits.


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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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Is Jake Day Breaking Promises Already?

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Another Questionable Land Deal on Today’s County Council Agenda

SALISBURY, MD – Another questionable real estate deal is catching the eyes of Wicomico County taxpayers.  Today the Wicomico County Council is scheduled to vote on the acquisition of 23 acres of land for a new transfer station near Allen.

The purchase price for the property is approximately $150,000.  However, the price was originally $250,000 $220,000.  The price came down only after the county government was offered nearby parcels at a much lower price.  This calls into question the legitimacy of the original appraisal.  In addition, there are questions regarding personal ties between the family of the landowners and County Executive Rick Pollitt.

This comes on the heels of the county’s approval of a lease / purchase agreement for new office space for the State’s Attorney’s office.  Questions were raised when county purchasing director Rick Konrad informed two bidders that their proposals must meet certain requirements or their proposals would be automatically rejected.  The winning bidder did not meet those same requirements.

As in the case of the State’s Attorney office deal, it is expected that the pro-Pollitt majority coalition of council members John Hall, Matt Holloway, Stevie Prettyman, and Sheree Sample-Hughes will approve the purchase.

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North Korea Vows to Strike Without Warning After Seoul Protests

PYONGYANG – The North Korean government has vowed to attack South Korea without warning if anti-North Korean protests continue in the south.

"The supreme command of the Korean People’s Army Tuesday issued an ultimatum to the South Korean puppet group," Pyongyang’s official news agency, KCNA, said.

Threatening that it would not give any advance notice before attacking South Korea, the North warned: "Our retaliatory action will start without any notice from now."

North Korea said it was responding to insults from the "puppet authorities" in the South, who yesterday held a rally against the North in Seoul.

While North Koreans were celebrating the 101st anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth, South Koreans protested recent threats from the North including burning North Korean leaders in effigy.

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NASA Hosts Space Apps Challenge

SALISBURY, MD – This weekend NASA will host the second International Space Apps Challenge.  Scientists, software developers, hackers, and ordinary citizens from around the world will gather in over 75 cities, including Salisbury, to help solve various space exploration problems.  The program is part of the Open Government Partnership.

Individuals and teams will tackle one of 53 challenges.  The Salisbury site for the challenge will be at the HotDesks small business incubator at the Tri-County Council building across from Wor-Wic Community College.

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Jake Day Elected Council President

Ireton, Shields Sworn in for New Terms

SALISBURY, MD – Newcomer Jake Day, along with incumbent Shanie Shields, were sworn-in to the Salisbury city council Monday night.  In a surprise move, Day was also elected as council president.  Councilwoman Laura Mitchell was elected vice president.

Mayor Jim Ireton was also sworn in to a second term.  The terms of Ireton and all five council members will end in November 2015 as the city adopts a new election cycle.

At the end of the meeting Ireton delivered his FY 2014 budget to the council.  In his budget Ireton calls for a $0.065 rate increase.

photos courtesy of Jeremy Cox via Twitter

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Today’s Weather – April 15, 2013

for Wilmington, DE

Today –
Rain showers early becoming more intermittent for the afternoon. High 59F. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

Tonight –
Partly cloudy. Low 49F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.

for Salisbury, MD

Today –
Mostly cloudy. Periods of rain this morning. High 62F. Winds E at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.

Tonight –
Partly cloudy skies. Low 52F. Winds ESE at 10 to 20 mph.

for Cape Charles, VA

Today –
Mostly cloudy with occasional rain… mainly in the morning. High 64F. Winds E at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.

Tonight –
A few clouds. Low 57F. Winds E at 10 to 15 mph.

[Read more…]

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Why Do YOU Pay Rent to Joe Biden?

GREENVILLE, DE – Last year YOU paid $26,400 in rent to Vice President Joe Biden.  Why?

It seems that the U.S. Secret Service uses a cottage on the grounds of Biden’s estate outside Wilmington.  This property is used as part of Biden’s protection detail but Biden charges the taxpayers $2,200 per month!

Typical of most high-profile liberals, Biden and his wife donated less than two percent of their adjusted gross income to charity in 2012.


photo courtesy of the Washington Times

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Today’s Weather – April 14, 2013

for Wilmington, DE

Today –
Plentiful sunshine. High 63F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.

Tonight –
Partly cloudy early followed by cloudy skies overnight. Low 49F. Winds light and variable.

for Salisbury, MD

Today –
Sunny to partly cloudy. High 67F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.

Tonight –
Partly cloudy skies early will give way to cloudy skies late. Low around 50F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph.

for Cape Charles, VA

Today –
Sunshine to start, then a few afternoon clouds. High 69F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph.

Tonight –
Cloudy skies. Low 57F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph.

[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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BBC Attacks Margaret Thatcher in Death… As in Life

LONDON – The British Broadcasting Corporation is facing heavy criticism for its coverage of the passing of former PM Margaret Thatcher.  The BBC was been criticized for giving undue prominence to Thatcher’s political opponents in their coverage of her death.  Now the broadcaster has been covering a campaign to encourage citizens to buy recordings of the song, “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”, including playing the song on air.


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Hijacking an Aircraft with a Smartphone

AMSTERDAM – A speaker at a recent computer security conference in Amsterdam demonstrated how to seize control of an aircraft using an app developed for Android smartphones.


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Liberal Group Suspected in Bugging of GOP Senate Leader’s Office

LOUISVILLE, KY – Progress Kentucky, a liberal group with a history of attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has emerged as a suspect in the bugging of McConnell’s DC office.

It was reported earlier this week that Mother Jones magazine had published an article based the illegal recording and highlighted comments made by McConnell and staffers regarding the potential candidacy of actress Ashley Judd against McConnell in 2014.

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Today’s Weather – April 12, 2013

for Wilmington, DE

Today –
Cloudy with rain likely. A thundershower is possible as well, especially during the morning. High 61F. Winds SE at 15 to 25 mph. Rainfall possibly over one inch.

Tonight –
Showers early, then clearing overnight. Low 47F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

for Salisbury, MD

Today –
Periods of rain with a few thunderstorms likely. A few storms may be severe. High around 75F. Winds S at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall around a half an inch.

A few showers early, then clear overnight. Low 52F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

for Cape Charles, VA

Today –
Windy with showers and thunderstorms. A few storms may be severe. High 77F. Winds SSW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

Tonight –
A few showers early, then clear overnight. Thunder is possible early. Low 56F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

[Read more…]

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What Happened to Free Markets?

One of the assumptions of a free market is that all parties have equal access to all available information.  This is why things like “insider trading” are illegal.  We acknowledge that we do not live in a Pollyanna world of perfect competition and perfect information.  That said, we thought that the government was supposed to protect consumers from market manipulation.

It appears that this is not the case.  Any viewer of CNBC or Fox Business know that the release of minutes of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) or of a Board of Governors’ meeting can, and do, move markets.  Why then did copies of the minutes of the March Fed meeting go out a day early to several banks, at least one hedge fund, a law firm, and several Congressional staffer?

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The Sequester March

WASHINGTON, DC – While the Obama Administration continues to insist that children are starving and old people are dying because of the cuts required under sequestration, ESSENTIAL federal spending continues for … BAGPIPES.

H/T – the Drudge Report

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If Cuccinelli Gives Facts, It’s an ATTACK

The Daily Press’s Shad Plank blog calls this video released by GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli an “attack” ad.  No one questions the facts imparted in the video.  The outlets which have been covering Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe’s less than open departure from GreenTech certainly don’t share a reputation for conservative or Republican bias.  They include Politico, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press.

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Today’s Weather – April 11, 2013

for Wilmington, DE

Today –
Partly cloudy skies during the morning giving way to a few showers late. High 67F. Winds ENE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

Tonight –
Showers developing late tonight with the possibility of a thunderstorm. Low 51F. Winds ENE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%.

for Salisbury, MD

Today –
Sunshine to start, then a few afternoon clouds. High 77F. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph.

Tonight –
Cloudy skies with a few showers after midnight. Low 61F. Winds SE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

for Cape Charles, VA

Today –
Sunshine to start, then a few afternoon clouds. Very warm. High 83F. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph.

Tonight –
Some clouds and possibly an isolated thunderstorm late. Low 67F. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

[Read more…]

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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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Senate Office Bugged by Left

WASHINGTON, DC – For those that believe only Republicans would engage in things such as illegal wire-tapping, fear not.  It appears that the left doesn’t bother with legal niceties when it suits their purposes either.

Mother Jones has published an article based, in part, on illegal recordings made of Sen. Mitch McConnell discussing the possibility of a challenge from actress Ashley Judd.

While Judd has announced that she will not run in 2014, her response to the illegal act sounded and awful lot like a candidate:  “This is yet another example of the politics of personal destruction that embody Mitch McConnell and are pervasive in Washington, D.C.”

The mainstream media’s response seems to be more concern about McConnell “digging up dirt” on Judd rather than the fact that an illegal act had taken place.  We can only assume that ABC News has never heard of opposition research.

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Sequester Soul Show at White House

We thought that children were starving and old people were dying because of the sequester?  Yet … we would dare deprive the Obama’s of a little in-house entertainment (or multi-million dollar vacations).

See video at

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LaFerla to Challenge Harris in 2014

CHESTERTOWN, MD – Unsuccessful 2012 congressional candidate John LaFerla will officially announce today that he will challenge incumbent Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) for Maryland’s First District congressional seat.

LaFerla received 4% of the vote in 2012 in a write-in campaign after losing to disgraced candidate Wendy Rosen in the Democrat primary.  Rosen received almost 28% of the vote despite having withdrawn amid charges of voter fraud (Rosen voted in multiple states).

H/T – Michael Swartz @ Monoblogue

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Today’s Weather – April 10, 2013

for Wilmington, DE

Today –
Partly cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 84F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph.

Tonight –
Isolated thunderstorms early, then mainly cloudy after midnight. Low around 60F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

for Salisbury, MD

Today –
A mix of clouds and sun. Very warm. High 84F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.

Tonight –
Clear to partly cloudy. Low 62F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.

for Cape Charles, VA

Today –
Sunshine and clouds mixed. Very warm. High 88F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.

Tonight –
Mainly clear skies. Low 64F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph.

[Read more…]

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Brown to Kick-off 2014 Campaign May 10

LARGO, MD – According to the left-wing blog Maryland Juice, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will kick-off his 2014 gubernatorial campaign on May 10th at Prince George’s Community College in Largo.  It is also rumored that Brown will also announce his running mate at the event.

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Is “Lockbox” Amendment a Fraud?

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Next year voters will have a chance to amend Maryland’s constitution to place gas tax funds in a “lockbox”.  The stated purpose of the amendment is to prevent a future raid on highway user funds like those that occurred with regularity during Maryland governor Martin O’Malley’s two terms in office.

While the amendment’s stated purpose may seem noble, and sound policy for Maryland taxpayers, some legislators are questioning whether or not the proposal is real, or little more than political theater.  The amendment would require a 60% vote of both houses to raid the highway user fund.  However, each time in recent years this has occurred it was accomplished by a vote of greater than 60%:

House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell objected, “Every time we raid the Transportation Trust Fund, it meets the three-fifths vote” in both houses.

Even here on the Eastern Shore we’re not exempt.  While legislators like Del. Norm Conway (D-38B) and Sen. Jim Mathias (D-38) don’t mind coming home to tell constituents that they voted against bills like the recent gas tax hike, they also haven’t hesitated to vote in favor of raiding the highway user fund.

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Ireton to Unveil “Let’s Do Business Salisbury” Plan at Chamber

SALISBURY, MD – Today incumbent Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton is to unveil a new approach to business at the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce.  According to the Daily Times, “Let’s Do Business Salisbury”appears geared almost exclusively towards developers, not just those seeking to open a business in Salisbury.

For those members of the business community looking for a a “one-stop shop” for permitting, registration, and other bureaucratic entanglements, Ireton’s presentation will be viewed either with disappointment or as a baby step in the right direction.  Newly elected councilman Jake Day and unsuccessful mayoral candidate Joe Albero both focused heavily on the need to court new business and on the need to streamline things like the permitting process, often viewed as an impediment to doing business in Salisbury.

Ireton’s plan involves setting up a kiosk on the first floor of the Salisbury / Wicomico Government Office Building (GOB) with form packets useful to developers.  Ireton also hopes to install a similar kiosk at the Chamber’s office on East Main Street.

According to the Daily Times’ Jeremy Cox:

…Those changes will be accompanied by a new, business-friendly atmosphere in the city’s staff offices, Ireton said. Those adopting the customer-service approach are the Mayor’s Office; Public Works; Building, Permits and Inspections; and Planning and Zoning.

… (Asst. City Administrator Lore) Chambers, though, said city administrators have worked on the plan for more than a year. Ireton said he was loath to announce the effort during the election season out of concern it would be criticized as a self-serving campaign ploy.

It should be noted that Ireton’s plan for downtown redevelopment was released two years ago.  Some members of the business community are skeptical that this “customer-service” approach has been in the works for over a year.  One local business owner, who asked that his name be withheld, stated, “I can’t believe that the mayor expects us to believe that it took a year to put some forms together.  No one, certainly not the mayor, talked about treating businesses as customers until Joe Albero decided to run against him.”

Ireton will present his plan in the lobby of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce at 1:30 PM today.

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McAuliffe Ends Career as “Green” Executive

RICHMOND, VA – Presumptive Democrat nominee for the Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, appears to have ended his ties with electric car company GreenTech.  While McAuliffe submitted his resignation as chairman on December 1, 2012, the information was not made public until last Friday.

“Terry McAuliffe’s walking away as chairman of GreenTech Auto undercuts what was supposed to be his chief qualification for office,” said Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix.

“His sudden and shady resignation exposes the fact that all the hype and fanfare was nothing more than smoke and mirrors for a business that has always been more about keeping McAuliffe in the headlines than creating jobs.”

McAuliffe’s campaign claims that his resignation was motivated by his commitment to running for governor.

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Commercial Air Service to Resume in DE

NEW CASTLE, DE – Commercial air service will return to Delaware after a five (5) year absence.  The Associated Press reports that Frontier Airlines will begin offering three (3) flights per week to Chicago and Houston beginning on July 1.  Additional flights to Orlando, Tampa, and Denver will begin soon after.

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