Letters to the Editor — July 15, 2016
Reader agrees with previous letter
I am writing in response to the July 8 article and letter to the editor about the safety and traffic issues in the Cat Hill section of South Bethany. In the past year alone, there have been no less than eight pedestrians nearly hit on the roads through Cat Hill, of which at least six were at the corner of Canal and Tamarack Drives.
Vehicles speed through and around the intersection, at times going off the road onto the gravel right-of-way, where adults, children and pets walk. Last year, a father pulling his young son in a red wagon almost got hit there.
At other times, cars speeding around the turn make such wide turns that opposing traffic has had to swerve off the road onto the other side in order to avoid collision. Last year, a young child playing with her grandmother were almost struck there.
This intersection is often crowded with bicyclists and pedestrians of all sorts... people out for a stroll, joggers, parents pushing their infants in strollers, children on skateboards and adults walking with pets.
In just the past year alone, the Canal-Tamarack intersection has proved to be dangerous. Why do we need any more studies by DelDOT? The situation fulfills the criteria set forth in the Delaware Manual on Uniform Traffic Control for Streets & Highways for the installation of a three-way stop. Also, additional reflectors and painted white road edge markings would deter vehicles from going off the road.
Most importantly, with over 5,000 new homes planned just east of South Bethany, the situation is only going to get worse, and it will become year-round, not just in the summer. The narrow streets through Cat Hill were never intended or designed to have such a large number of vehicles, often with trailers, mixing with pedestrians and bicyclists.
The South Bethany Town Council must realize that the ultimate remedy to the traffic and safety issues is dramatic restriction of traffic through Cat Hill. The South Bethany Town Council needs to act now before a tragic accident occurs.
Reader finds chaos at the beach
The overwhelming amount of traffic at the beach communities this July 4th weekend gives testimony to the lack of foresight and vision of the Ocean View, Millville and County councils. I say it falls on their shoulders because it is these councils that have issued development approvals for thousands of new homes with no plan on how to handle the traffic and chaos that comes with them.
Do not blame the State. Their traffic survey for Muddy Neck Road and the new Ocean View Beach Club development is just one example; the State survey suggests adequate traffic flow with existing infrastructure (maybe needing a traffic signal eventually).
Anybody who lives here and was traveling this weekend knows traffic on Muddy Neck/Kent was backed up well over a mile on July 2. Anybody who lives here knows that backups have grown year after year, and now have exploded!
And what does Ocean View do about it...approve another development on the corner of Muddy Neck and Double Bridges roads. Duh. This is not to pick on Ocean View. It’s all the local and county governments that are at fault. Use your heads, not your calculators.
We have been strangled with vehicles, pedestrians, joggers, bicycles, strollers, dog walkers and skaters, all competing for a very short and narrow supply of asphalt. Our electees approve more and more development in order to maintain their budgets with transfer tax revenues. Ladies and gentlemen, there are other means of taxation even more reliable than the transfer tax.
Get smart and raise our property taxes so we can have some relief from the mess you have caused. Most of us transplants are used to paying ridiculously high property taxes, not ridiculously low taxes like we do here. Only the few locals left would see a modest increase as imposing!
Decrease reliance on transfer taxes and increase reliance on property tax, and spend it wisely, please. And when the State tells you the infrastructure can handle another development, use your own heads to say no, no, no.
And while you are sitting on your hands on this issue, why not take another year or two to study the billboard issue so the Hockers, Timmonses et al can clutter our byways and destroy the beauty of this place we call home, while shamelessly, selfishly fattening their wallets.
Hattier weighs in on gun issues
There have been several recent [letters] regarding so-called assault weapons.
Over the years we have seen words change meaning, like gay for homosexuality, rather than something fun or happy and choice for abortion vs no abortion. This has also happened in the use of the words “assault weapon.”
Twenty years ago, it was understood that assault weapon meant a fully automatic firearm capable of multiple discharges with a single trigger pull. Now it means any weapon that can fire a lot of bullets repeatedly.
Yet we would hardly call a Ruger 10-22 an assault weapon, and it is also capable of multiple discharge. Neither would be we refer to a Browning Safari semi-automatic rifle in 30-06 as an assault weapon, although it does have a detachable magazine. Or for that matter a Remington 1100 series semi-automatic shotgun.
The author of the most recent [letter] describes cosmetic characteristics as being hallmarks of an assault weapon. Adjustable butt stocks make it easier for shorter-armed people able to better aim and control a weapon, it does not make them an assault weapon.
Likewise pistol grips. If a pistol grip is on a shotgun, does that make the shotgun an assault weapon, or does it make it easier for my wife to control the recoil if she ever had to defend my family? Detachable magazines serve a variety of weapons and not just so-called assault weapons.
The so-called assault weapons are very easy to control, unlike the double-barreled shotgun that Vice President Biden so famously thinks should be used. The average smaller person can use an AR15-class weapon and stand a good chance to hit what they aimed at with little recoil or chance of self-injury. These are actually very popular hunting weapons now as a result. Please go to YouTube and type in “Biden shotgun” for a clear demonstration of controllability.
And the barrel shroud? Barrel shrouds are used in many weapons. Today they make it easier to add lights, sights and other items to make the weapon more versatile. It does not make them an assault weapon.
I noted that most of the organizations called upon by the author for information were of a far-left bent. So let us call on another known far-left organization, like the New York Times. In an article dated Sept. 14, 2014, even they stated that a ban would make practically no difference in deaths at all. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/sunday-review/the-assault-weapon-myth....) .
The big issue in deaths is smaller handguns. If you want to control something that would make a real difference, control that. Virtually everyone agreed after the assault weapons ban that it made no difference in overall deaths at all.
There are many laws banning murder and killing. For those folks that murder, the law does not stop them. In countries where guns are outlawed, many are killed with knives and machetes. Should they also be banned?
I will take my American freedom and choose those weapons that I think are best suited for my family’s defense. That may or may not be a so-called assault weapon. But it is my choice. I don’t trust my government to make that choice for me.
Donald G Hattier
Society thankful for partnership
After careful consideration, the Lewes Historical Society and the Historic Lewes Farmers Market have concluded that the renovated Lewes Historical Society grounds at Third and Shipcarpenter Streets, when completed, will not accommodate the Historic Lewes Farmers Market.
This became clear during construction, when unforeseen subsurface site conditions caused realignment of the new driveways, thereby reducing the number of available vendor spaces to below the minimum required for the Historic Lewes Farmers Market’s successful use of the Lewes Historical Society grounds for the market.
?The Historic Lewes Farmers Market thanks the Lewes Historical Society for a 10-year partnership that saw the market become the most popular producer-only market on Delmarva. The Lewes Historical Society is appreciative of the number of visitors the Historic Farmers Market brought to the Society grounds, thereby introducing them to our rich local history.
Both organizations look forward to finding new ways to work together for the betterment of the greater Lewes community.??
Don Matzkin, President
Lewes Historical Society
Helaine Harris, President
Historic Lewes Farmers Market
Mitchell goes after Hocker, policies
In keeping with his lackluster performance as senator, Gerald Hocker voted against the revenue and budget bills at the end of the 2016 legislative session. His vote said in effect that he opposes education, policing, corrections or any spending in the State budget.
He has, moreover, voted against every spending bill or budget going back to 2008 and beyond. He has voted against the liquor license fee increase, cigarette tax increase, alcohol tax and most revenue-producing bills. All of the above bills were passed and were signed by the governor. All of Hocker’s votes confirm him as a “do-nothing” senator.
His silence on the proposed PJM rate increase regarding Artificial Island is telling.
In 2006, I formed a group called Consumers for Alternate Power, a bipartisan group, to oppose the high electricity rates due to “deregulation” and Delmarva Power’s high rates. Rep. Hocker, at the time, sent me two letters arguing that DPL was going “bankrupt” due to its low rate of return. This was not true, as DPL was earning a good rate of return, which improved considerable over the years.
Sen. Hocker, in 2008, also opposed the Bluewater offshore wind project. Unfortunately, the wind contract was ultimately canceled due to its high cost.
In 2016, Sen. Hocker was the primary sponsor of SB 288, probably his biggest legislative effort, to amend the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to suspend Delaware’s participation in the project. This bill would have damaged Delaware’s environment. Fortunately, it did not pass.
It seems that his entire legislative track record has been against using green energy and protecting Delmarva Power’s profit line.
Delaware cannot afford his kind of representation that would put Delaware back 30 years.
Perry J. Mitchell
for the 20th Senate District
Reader sees courage in legislators ‘no’ votes
Now that our legislators are finished with their late-night wrangling and the dust has cleared, we can now see how the votes were cast on specific bills. As we were sleeping, many bills were voted on that will directly affect you and your family. Not often do our legislators get praised, much less during these late-night sessions, but I wanted to give a shout-out to a few.
The beauty of our democratic process is it is designed to hear all sides of an issue, analyze the merits of the arguments, research further if needed and, if it warrants, put it to a vote. But through the democratic process, human emotions get intertwined and can cause a normally reasonable person to become a crazed lunatic and launch personal attacks on a senator or representative if they didn’t vote “the right way.”
Case in point: SB230 was a bill voted on in the 11th hour of this session. SB230 is “Supported Decision Making” and its intention is to have an alternative to guardianship for individuals with disabilities. I got wind of this bill back in April and, with some research, found it to be that “warm fuzzy” type of bill that sounds great on the surface. Who would want to keep individuals from making decisions?
Some national proponents of this bill will say guardianship is a “kind of civil death” for folks with disabilities, saying they are losing rights as an individual and become a “legal non-person” when under guardianship. Having a daughter with intellectual disabilities, that comment is completely ridiculous. The bill was very flawed, the language in the bill appeared contradictory and overall seemed unnecessary. Nonetheless, the bill title sounds great and, again, who would want to vote no for that?
This bill, although greatly flawed, had great opportunities for good press and awesome sound bites. But after the great press and when the cameras go off, it will likely hurt those it is intended to help.
Here’s where the praise comes for a courageous vote. Some legislators voted no. Some said more research needed to be done, and some saw the flaws. They thought this may hurt individuals with disabilities and we just need more time to think this through more.
There were two senators and a few representatives from Sussex County who voted no. Ruth Briggs King, Steve Smyk and Ernie Lopez were some. I wrote to Sen. Lopez to say thanks for his courageous vote. He responded with a thank-you for writing, because he was getting a lot of mean-spirited politics saying he’s not supporting the disability community. To his credit, he did not share where these comments were coming from. I’m sure the other legislators who voted no are hearing the same thing. The bill did pass, so what’s the deal with mean-spirited politics from the ones who got their flawed billed through?
I am so thankful that we have legislators with strength and conviction to vote no, even if they know it may result in unreasonable, unsubstantiated and mean-spirited personal attacks. They voted no because they did their research and saw a bill needed more time to debate. They weren’t after the warm fuzzy soundbites.
There is still hope left in the halls of the Delaware State House where reasonable discussions and thoughtful votes still occur. I actually felt that my concerns were heard. So when those courageous elected representatives vote against the tide, they also need to be encouraged and deserve a pat on the back.
\Thank you, Sen. Lopez, Rep. Briggs-King, Rep. Smyk, along with the others. And thanks for caring about our neighbors and loved ones with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Reader responds to previous letter
In response to Patricia Frey:
First, thank you John Uibel for your response, you were kinder than I. Here is my revised response trying to be nicer.
Please turn off liberal news and do some actual research. The states that have the strictest gun laws also have the highest gun and crime rates.
Regarding the Orlando shooting, you say police and psychological specialists are working to determine his motive. He gave his motive in the 911 calls: Allegiance to ISIS. What more needs to be said? Fort Hood, San Bernardino, Orlando shooters already had background checks and two of them worked for the government. The government dropped the ball.
AR does not stand for assault rifle; it stands for the manufacturer ArmaLite Rifle Model 15. It has been the preferred gun for home protection since 1950.
An automatic weapon is already illegal to own, and you must pass stringent background checks to get one. And here’s a surprise — Criminals do not obtain guns legally. More laws are not going to hinder the criminal. Gun laws are only going to affect the law-abiding citizen.
You state guns are sold without background checks; how do you know this? Have you ever legally purchased a gun? When you go to a FFL dealer, a background check is always completed. No one is bypassing the law by ordering a gun online either. The gun you order online is sent to a FFL dealer, you go there and a background check is done before you are allowed to pick it up. Guns are not delivered to your home.
What about this mysterious “gun show loophole?” I have asked numerous people about this “loophole” but no one has an answer, because there isn’t one. It’s just liberal rhetoric. Have you ever been to a gun show? There is no loophole. And if a person does purchase a gun illegally, guess what? They are a criminal and would not obey any new laws.
You use the phrase “assault weapon” 14 times. Any item used to assault someone is an assault weapon. Recent protesters in Sacramento, Calif., used sticks and poles to assault others. I don’t hear you protesting sticks. Bombs are illegal, but criminals make them anyway. Drugs are illegal and kill thousands a year. More laws do not hinder the drug addict or dealer, nor will more laws hinder the criminal or terrorist.
Below is a list of causes of death for this year so far. Prescription drugs, alcohol and drunk drivers kill substantially more people than guns, but no one is banning alcohol. The list was extensive, so I did remove many other causes of death that were much higher than death by gunshot.
Causes of Death in the USA in 2016-07-06
Heart disease: 282,038
Kidney failure: 19,631
Drunk driving: 15,521
Prescription drug overdose: 6,866
Murder by gun: 5,276
I think Mr. Uibel covered everything else. Please look at the website he offered. Here is another to consider: thetruthaboutguns.com and click on “Facts About Guns.”
I understand your anger regarding the recent terror attack in Florida but people intent on harming others will find a way regardless of the law. Disarming or making it difficult for the law-abiding citizen to practice their Second Amendment rights puts us on a slippery slope that, if allowed, will eventually compromise our other rights. Freedom of speech is already under attack.