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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Anything Goes in Leftist Politics

Saturday’s runoff in Louisiana is over.  Mary Landrieu is enjoying her last few days as an elected official.  Republicans will enjoy an eight seat majority come January.  What’s to worry?

While Louisiana has earned a reputation for lawlessness in its politics, some tactics used in Landrieu’s vain struggle to remain in the U.S. Senate should remain in voters’ (and conservatives’) minds long after Bill Cassidy is sworn in to replace that vestige of crooked cronyism – Mary Landrieu.

VOTE ONCE, VOTE TWICE

“Vote early.  Vote often.” It’s a joke oft-told about politicians.  Is it really a joke?

Thanks to the Black Conservatives Fund, we now know as fact something that many have simply feared:  Democrat politicians encourage [some] voters to vote more than once.

In this case Opelousas, LA mayor Don Cravins, Sr. encourages a group of predominately African-American voters to “Vote Again”.  Mayor Cravins just happens to be the father of Landrieu’s chief-of-staff.  As Louisiana Sen. Elbert Guillory notes in the video, the only think preventing mass voter fraud of the type encouraged by Cravins is voter ID requirements (which Louisiana thankfully has), and a Republican administration in Baton Rouge.

VOTE DEMOCRAT …  OR ELSE!

[Read more…]

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Culver Starts Term with Change

SALISBURY, MD – Citizens voted for change on November 4th.  Bob Culver, Wicomico’s new County Executive, decided to kick-off his term with just that.

After his swearing in, Culver announced a few changes.  First, county employees will no longer receive a paid day off on their birthday.  Culver also announced that he would be cutting back on the number of county employees who receive take-home cars.

As I wrote the other day, Culver doesn’t need to swing for the fences.  A few solid base hits will work wonders.  He deserves credit for two solid singles on Tuesday (really, a single and a walk).  Culver can implement the take-home car policy on his own.  I believe he needs an amendment to the county’s personnel manual to implement the birthday measure.  That requires approval by the county council.  Regardless, it was a solid performance; letting voters know that he is serious about lowering the cost of county government.  Chipping away will certainly yield better long term results than attempting any grand schemes.

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Bob Culver Sworn in as Wicomico County Executive

SALISBURY, MD – Joined by Governor-elect Larry Hogan, Bob Culver was sworn in this morning as Wicomico County’s second County Executive.  According to the Daily Times’ Phil Davis:

During Culver’s speech, he said noticed while campaigning he "wasn’t the only one that wanted to see change" and that the "social fabric of our county has detriorated also."

"If you have a good idea to contribute to the social and financial well-being (of Wicomico County), I want to hear it," Culver said. "My door will always be open and my cell phone will always be on."

 

photo courtesy of the Daily Times

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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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Maciarello Wants Police Oversight Board

SALISBURY, MD – Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matt Maciarello proposed civilian oversight boards for both the Salisbury Police Department and the Wicomico County Sheriff’s office according to a report by Daily Times reporter Jeremy Cox.  Maciarello also proposed that both SPD officers and WCSO deputies wear body cameras.  Details of Maciarello’s proposal are not currently available.

As with all such proposals, the devil is in the details.  The Salisbury city council and mayor could easily pass legislation to institute a civilian oversight board and require officers to wear body cameras.  The wisdom of such proposals can be debated.  However, neither Maciarello nor the Wicomico County government have the authority to institute such proposals.  The county government funds the Sheriff’s office with local tax dollars.  It cannot dictate to Sheriff Mike Lewis how he chooses to operate his office.  Unless the state plans on passing such a law OR Wicomico County plans on creating a county police department, such proposals are nothing more than suggestions.

In the Daily Times’ account, the subheadline reads:

Maciarello’s push represents the most tangible action taken so far after a string of violent —sometimes fatal — interactions between police and citizens in Wicomico

This hardly represents “tangible” action as Maciarello lacks the authority to do anything but hold a press conference regarding this matter.

photo courtesy of the Daily Times

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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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What’s In Store for Wicomico County?

Judging by the results of the recent election, Wicomico County voters should be enthused about some changes coming down the pike.  However, those changes will required some thought and planning on the part of incoming County Executive Bob Culver, the incoming (and outgoing) County Council’s, and Wicomico’s legislative delegation.

Maryland Governor-elect Larry Hogan ran (and was elected) on three primary issues:

  1. Maryland is OVER-TAXED.
  2. Maryland is OVER-REGULATED.
  3. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown was incompetent.

Well …

If Maryland is over-taxed (and most of seem to agree), there are only two things that Hogan can do:

  1. Cut Spending while keeping the current tax rates as is.
  2. Cut Spending MORE and ask the General Assembly to cut tax rates.

Obviously, Wicomico voters (as well as voters from around the Once Free State) are looking for tax cuts. There are just a few problems; to cut taxes Hogan will have to drastically cut spending.  He already faces a projected $593 million shortfall courtesy of outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley.  As governor, Hogan has a great deal of influence over the spending side of the budget.  He needs the Democrat-controlled General Assembly to cut taxes.

Hogan has already met with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the mayor has stated that they must reconsider Baltimore’s “reliance on state aid”.  All localities need to do the same.  However, if you are like Wicomico County the hit could be hard.

For local officials, this will probably mean severe cuts to their respective budgets.  Wicomico County could be one of the worst hit by Hogan’s expected spending cuts.  Wicomico County pays just over 24% for its schools.  Compare that to over 35% in Dorchester and almost 76% in Worcester.  The state requires Wicomico to meet Maintenance of Effort (MOE) each year.

Incoming Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver needs to be prepared for a revenue shortfall.  How much is anyone’s guess.

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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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Wicomico GOP Latest Source of Dem $$

Wicomico councilwoman, and District 37-A House candidate, Sheree Sample-Hughes has stumbled upon a new source of campaign cash.  REPUBLICAN elected officials!

That’s right!  The most liberal member of the Wicomico County Council can count the likes of Wicomico council president Matt Holloway, appointed councilman John Hall, and Wicomico sheriff Mike Lewis among her most ardent supporters.  Even Lewis’ chief deputy has contributed to Sample-Hughes’ race.

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In a twisted sense of irony, voters should remember that Sample-Hughes has implied that Lewis and his department are a bunch of racists because of a drug raid and chase on Salisbury’s west side a few years ago.  Now Lewis and his number two are helping Sample-Hughes to climb the political ladder.

It will be interesting to see the response of the local Republican party.

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Obama’s Lack of Understanding

WASHINGTON, DC – While people were literally dying in southeast DC yesterday, President Barack Obama launched a partisan attack against Congressional Republicans.  Even media outlets such as MSNBC – the OFFICIAL Obama network – is outraged.

From FOXNews:

More than three hours after news broke of the Navy Yard shootings, President Obama opted to proceed with a partisan attack on Republicans over a looming budget impasse. Obama asked if the GOP was really “willing to hurt people” while police were still searching for suspects in the killings. Obama also touted his own re-election win, slamming Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s ineffective opposition to Obama’s 2010 health law. All the networks, including MSNBC, eventually abandoned coverage of the president’s remarks and returned to breaking news from the scene.

Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney why the president went ahead with “what became a series of attacks on Republicans.” Carney responded saying the president’s comments were “entirely appropriate.”

Is the President and his staff so tone deaf that they can’t understand there are certain lines you don’t cross?  Can you imagine the reaction if a Republican occupied the White House and did the same thing?

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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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Boda to Announce for Wicomico Council

SALISBURY, MD – Former Salisbury City Council Candidate Muir Boda will be announcing his candidacy for Wicomico County Council at the end of the week.  Boda will seek the Republican nomination for one of two At Large seats.

You can follow Boda’s campaign HERE.

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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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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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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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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.)

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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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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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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.

READ MORE …

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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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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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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.

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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 RealClearPolitics.com

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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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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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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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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

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Maryland Group Enters Sussex Sheriff’s Fray Over Powers

GEORGETOWN, DE – Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher’s ongoing battle with the state of Delaware over the extent (limit) of his powers has found an out-of-state ally.  The Pasadena, MD based Institute on the Constitution hosted a forum yesterday at DelTech’s Georgetown campus.

“Our drive is to raise up a citizenry that understands these issues and can act on them from a basis of knowledge, not just petty personal interests,” said Michael Anthony Peroutka, a lawyer from Pasadena, Md., and founder of the institute.

Christopher argues that the state’s constitution provides his office with law enforcement powers.  Delaware governor Jack Markell, AG Beau Biden, and several state courts have disagreed.

photo courtesy of the Cape Gazette

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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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MD Senate Finalizes Gun Control Bill

ANNAPOLIS, MD – It didn’t take very long for the Maryland Senate to adopt the version of SB-281 approved by the House of Delegates late yesterday.  The bill, which is one of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country, now goes to Gov. Martin O’Malley for his signature.

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Maryland House Passes O’Malley Gun Control Bill – 78-61

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland House of Delegates passed one of the nation’s most restrictive gun control laws yesterday by a vote of 78-61.  In addition to banning so-called “assault weapons”, ammunition magazines will be limited to 10 rounds and Marylanders will have to undergo a background check with fingerprints in order to purchase a handgun.

While the bill must be reconciled with the Senate version passed last month, the bill is expected to become law and Maryland will join the ranks of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia as having the nation’s most restrictive gun laws.

Del. Mike McDermott (R-38B) observed that this bill is equivalent to banning legal gun ownership:  “…the licensing requirement would add even more delay, amounting to a “defacto ban” on gun sales in Maryland”.

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Ireton, Shields, and Day Sweep Salisbury City Elections

Incuments Mayor Jim Ireton and Councilwoman Shanie Shields, along with challenger Jake Day swept today’s Salisbury city elections in a landslide.  The results were:

Mayor    
  Joe Albero

782

  Jim Ireton

1,694

     
District 1    
  April Jackson

77

  Cynthia Polk

80

  Shanie Shields

145

     
District 2    
  Debbie Campbell

612

  Jake Day

1,569

While these results are not official, the margin of victory for each candidate was large enough to negate any impact from the counting of absentee and provisional ballots.  There are approximately 300 absentee ballots outstanding.  As of today, approximately 250 ballots had been returned.

In addition to the margins of victory, probably the biggest surprise was voter turnout.  While Salisbury has a reputation of abysmal turnout in municipal elections, it has continued to grow each cycle.  This year’s turnout saw a dramatic drop – to 17.32% citywide compared to 21.10% four years ago.  While the addition of absentee and provisional ballots will increase the turnout percentage slightly, there will still be a large decrease.

The council will reorganize later this month.

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For additional analysis of the 2013 Salisbury election, tune in to WSDL (90.7 FM) at 9 AM Friday when DelMarVa Observer’s G. A. Harrison joins WSDL’s Don Rush and SU political science professor Michael O’Loughlin on Delmarva Today for an election post-mortem.  The show can also be seen on-demand at a later date.

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Delegate Demonstrates Treachery in Maryland House of Delegates

Maryland Delegate Mike Smigiel (R-36) has posted a video which shows the House Judiciary Committee changing the vote AFTER an amendment had passed.  The amendment, offered by Smigiel, would have increased punishment for criminals convicted of a gun crime.

One of the arguments against Maryland governor Martin O’Malley’s gun control measure is that it punishes law-abiding Marylanders while doing NOTHING to punish criminals or actually prevent gun crime.

The video was prepared by pro – Second Amendment group The Maryland Minutemen.

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Jake Day Denying Special Interest Money

  1. Salisbury District 2 council candidate Jake Day isn’t happy that people are beginning to notice that tens of thousands of dollars in special interest money is being thrown at his campaign to unseat Debbie Campbell.  Who would blame him?
     
    You’ve got a national political action committee (PAC) out of Chicago throwing money at a council race in the little city of Salisbury.  Why?  It’s pretty obvious that their membership sees Day as the chance to hop back on the taxpayer-funded gravy train.  Ten years ago the "Dream Team" council of Mike Dunn, Gary Comegys, and Lynn Cathcart rode into power allying themselves with councilman Michael Day.  They proceeded to borrow millions and hand the money over to residential developers.
     
    Jake Day’s plan calls for much the same – subsidizing residential development by waiving capacity fees for residential development downtown (and that’s only what Day has admitted to).
     
    Since this became public, Day and his campaign treasurer Jordan Gilmore have been vigorously denying it (see the exchanges at the bottom of this post):

  2. There are over 14,000 registered voters in Salisbury.  The mail shop out of Virginia that did the mailing householded the list (this is so that only 1 piece of mail goes to the same address to people with the same last name).  This would have yielded approximately 9,000 pieces mailed PER MAILING.  Remember, there were TWO MAILINGS.  So … here’s the math:
     
    18,000 pieces
    $0.75 per piece (this is conservative given the size and type of mailing)
    $ 13,500 for two mailings
     
    But WAIT … There’s more:
     
    The same national PAC is also running radio ads in support of Jake Day.  We don’t have access to the details of the buy, but hearing from many people who listen to many radio stations, that probably cost the PAC a couple of thousand bucks.  That brings the total up to over $15,000. Greater than $10,000 is tens of thousands of dollars.  Mr. Day and his treasurer may not like it.  They can continue to deny it.  Unfortunately for them, math remains one of the few immutable truths
     
    Note – these are "independent expenditures".  There is nothing illegal.  We only have to ask the question -Is Salisbury for sale?  Perhaps this is why councilwoman Debbie Campbell is drawing attention to the fact with a video launched yesterday:

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Daily Times Gears Up for Sunday Attack

 

 

DAILY TIMES PREPARES “OCTOBER SURPRISE”
What Happened to “Stick to the Issues”?

Salisbury’s Daily Times is planning its own version of the “October Surprise” for this Sunday’s edition. According to Daily Times city reporter Jeremy Cox, the paper plans to run a front page “expose” outlining the past legal difficulties of incumbent mayor Jim Ireton and his opponent, businessman Joe Albero.

“I’m really disgusted with the entire approach taken by our local newspaper”, stated Albero. “It’s small wonder that they’ve had to put their building up for lease. People just don’t want to read a paper that is one step above the National Enquirer. Who cares that Jake Day has a heavy foot, or that our three District 1 candidates have met with personal financial misfortune, or that both my opponent and I have had some minor brushes with the legal system? Why does the Daily Times think that these things take precedence over my plan to bring jobs to Salisbury, Jim Ireton’s repeated attempts to raise our taxes, or Jake Day’s plan to use our tax dollars to subsidize residential development in the city?”

Albero also noted that early in the campaign the Daily Times stated that they wanted to ONLY report on issues. “Throughout this campaign I have focused on how to make Salisbury a better place to work and to live. It’s unfortunate that they have gone back on their word and chosen to take this path. What have we seen from our local paper during this campaign? Most of the articles we’ve seen this election season have been thinly disguised attack pieces. Any discussion of real issues has been little more than fluff. I don’t believe that reporter Jeremy Cox is either lazy or a bad reporter. I can only conclude that publisher Tom Claybaugh and editor Michael Kilian believe that they can gin up advertising sales from certain business segments or somehow increase readership by attempting to use Gannett’s assets to impact a local election with salacious stories that have no real impact on Salisbury’s residents and businesses.”

Albero’s publication, SBYNews will print a response (written by a named contributor) after the Daily Times runs its piece.

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Few Surprises at Chamber / PACE Forum

At Tuesday evening’s final candidate forum before next Tuesday’s Salisbury city elections, there were few surprises; but there were a few.  The biggest surprise was that the sponsors of the forum – the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce and SU’s Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE) – through their chosen moderator, Chamber ED Ernie Colburn, gave up all pretense of being honest brokers in this process.  For starters, it became abundantly clear that SOME of the candidates had been provided the questions in advance of yesterday’s forum.  Candidates were also permitted rebuttals on a SELECTIVE basis.

The first question posed by Colburn was to council candidates about creating a business-friendly environment for the city.  After District 1 incumbent Shanie Shields read her answer from a prepared script, a stammering Colburn interjected that “No candidate had been provided the questions in advance”.  District 2 challenger Jake Day also seemed to have his answers well prepared in advance.  However, he was not as obvious as Shields.

After the first embarrassment, Colburn followed up by attempting to sandbag mayoral candidate Joe Albero.  Colburn stated that Albero had called for the closing of the Salisbury Zoo.  Albero was at ease when he corrected Colburn, “I’ve never said or written such a thing.  My wife worked at the zoo and she would kill me if I ever said such a thing.”  Albero has been a critic of the zoo in the past and has called on the zoo to be more financially self-sufficient.  Our research was unable to find any instance where Albero called for the zoo to be closed.

TAG TEAMING CANDIDATES

One new approach in this debate was a “tag team” approach taken by Day and incumbent mayor Jim Ireton.  Ireton never referred to Albero.  In a weak attempt to tie Albero and Campbell together, he would say “my TWO opponent”, while pointing to both Albero and Campbell.  Day attacked Albero directly by claiming that NO ONE has called for 500 affordable housing units to be built on existing downtown parking lots.  Ireton’s downtown plan does call for 500 housing units.  Speaking on the matter over the past two years he has called for some or all of those units to be “affordable” housing.  Even while trying to call Albero out, Day equivocated; saying “I think” and “I’m pretty sure”.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH TRANSPARENCY?

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