Letters to the Editor — December 11, 2015

Reader: Not off our coast


I attended the Rehoboth Commissioners workshop meeting on Dec. 7 where Matt Heim, outreach coordinator for Assateague Coastal Trust, gave a presentation on the Interior Department’s proposal to allow seismic testing and drilling off the Atlantic coast. The ensuing discussion included the risk factor of oil spills.

It is natural to first think of the 200-million-gallon BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. But as Mr. Heim pointed out, “Small spills are regular occurrences, and hundreds of small spills have happened since 2010. It is not a matter of ‘if’ there will be a spill, but ‘when.’”

A July 12, 2015, AP press release stated “…a crude oil spill of up to 101,000 gallons on the Santa Barbara coast in May hit beaches this week and tar ball samples were taken from about 170 miles away… About a fifth of the oil flowed into the ocean, killing hundreds of birds and marine mammals, mostly sea lions, and closing state beaches. On August 6 there was another release indicating the May oil spill may have released 143,000 gallons.”

A spill of this size doesn’t even make the news on the East Coast, but what if one occurred off Virginia Beach, which is 120 nautical miles from Rehoboth? How many vacationers would cancel their reservations if the news reported a spill off Tidewater, resulting in tar balls and dead mammals and birds on Delaware’s beaches from Lewes to Fenwick.

To those who believe the risk is worth it because of oil independence, jobs and improving the local economy, please check the facts. U.S. oil companies currently export over 4 million gallons of oil a day because it is in their best economic interest. There is no guarantee that oil drilled of Delmarva would stay in the country.

The companies doing the seismic testing and drilling bring their own crews and when they are finished they move on. There is no economic benefit to Delaware or our towns — and we would be taking 100 percent of the risk.

It is time to join Lewes and Ocean City, Md., and say, “Not Off Our Coast.” Learn how to get your town or organization to pass a resolution at www.actforbays.org or contact Matt Heim at staff@actforbays.org.

Joanne Cabry
Rehoboth Beach

Frey responds to Hall letter


Ginny Hall’s Dec. 4, 2015, letter of response to my Nov. 27, 2015, letter titled “Refugees, Democracy and National Security” contains a number of errors and a good deal of fuzzy thinking. Words and the context in which they are used do matter.

I did not say that Gov. Markell has accepted three Syrian refugee families into Delaware. I can assure you, Ms. Hall, that Gov. Markell and I are not on such close terms that he would share “total secrecy regarding immigration resettlement” (your words) with me. Neither did I say that “10 other Democratic governors have accepted Syrian immigrants.” I have no clue how many governors have accepted Syrian immigrants before the Paris terrorist attacks of Nov. 3, 2015.

I did say that in the wake of those attacks and President Obama’s pledge to accept 10,000 more refugees into the country, governors of only 10 states, as of Nov. 16, 2015, had issued a welcome to additional Syrian immigrants. I have no idea which political party nine of those 10 governors professs. I do know that Gov. Markell is a Democrat. Indeed, I made sure not to use either the D or the R words in that letter… they have become such mudslinging words!

Ms. Hall said I used Sen. Carper’s position on the Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee “as proof that he knows what’s best for Delaware and citizens of the U.S.” I did not say that. I did say that, as a member of that committee, Sen. Carper agreed that the current vetting of immigrants may need to be reviewed and strengthened.

I did say that Sen. Carper in committee deliberations reminded his colleagues that: (a) Syrians’ immigration status are already the most closely scrutinized groups (b) under the best of circumstances, this vetting takes 24 months and (c) not one of the Syrians granted immigration thus far has been arrested for any crime. Neither Sen. Carper nor I have claimed to know what is best, we have simply tried to look at what is and make an informed opinion.

Ms. Hall pretty much blames every problem in the country on immigrants and the influx of many more since 1965. I think I am correct that unless you are a Native American, i.e. “Indian,” we are all not too far from immigrant status. Our history suggests that the vibrancy and vitality of America is in large part due to our immigrant past. She also throws taxes, low wages, overspending, not enough workers, jobless people, companies moving overseas, etc., etc., into her letter. I admit to confusion.

According to Ms. Hall a U.S. company moves out of the U.S. every few months to another country because of lower taxes and wages. She says I should know that because I live in Dagsboro, where two major Delaware employers, Vlasic and Allen Harim, have closed. The last time I checked, those companies had plants in Millsboro. But I do know they are closed, in the case of Vlasic, and didn’t open, in the case of Allen Harim.

Vlasic Pickles, by the way, was established in 1912 by a Polish immigrant. He sold the business to Campbell’s, which sold it to Vlasic, which changed its name to Pinnacle long before it closed the Millsboro plant. Pinnacle moved the plant to Imlay City, Mich., as part of a company consolidation move.

Allen Harim, a South Korean company with Delaware headquarters in Seaford, bought the plant in 2014 with plans to open it as a live poultry processing facility. Harim had to know that the Brownfields property would require cleanup… unless public officials gave them a pass in the name of business.

In the fall of 2015, Allen Harim decided it was in their best interest not to open the plant as a live poultry processing facility after many court battles with local citizens, OSHA and the Town of Millsboro over environmental and quality of life concerns. Local citizens believed and fought for the right to safe drinking water, less pollution of Indian River and other quality of life issues. How very un-American of them!

Ms. Hall states that I am naive. If by that she means that I am grateful to be an American and still believe there is room for others to become Americans, if she means that I choose to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, then I thank her.

If she means that I am sticking my head in the sand and totally discounting that 10,000 additional Syrian refugees may pose some problems of national security and no economic and cultural hardships for both the new immigrants and for us already here, then she is wrong. Democracy is hard, and it takes both our heads and our souls to get it right.

Patricia W. Frey

Reader wants Bethany to stay quiet resort


This is the first letter I have ever written to an editor, but I felt it was important to bring this matter to the attention of the Bethany Beach community.

A few weeks ago, we noticed four markers on the grass area in back of our house. The neighbors gathered and shared what we discovered:

(1) The Dinker House was donated to the Town and the town council decided to relocate the house to the “unopened portion” of what is designated as “Maryland Ave. south of Garfield Pkwy Ext.” This area has been left dormant and used for more than 20 years by all the neighborhood for children playing, dog walking, family gatherings! It has been a value and treasure for the many residents who live on Hollywood and Kent.

(2) When a small group of concerned citizens went up to the town meeting on Nov. 20, they were told that the Dinker House was not on the agenda, and that nothing would be decided until Jan. 16.

(3) We soon found out that was not the truth when a Town truck arrived to unload several sewer pipes a few days ago! The driver told us it was his understanding that the pipes were going to be connected to the open drain and then covered over with dirt… So that the Dinker House could be moved to the new site without having to move telephone poles! Looks like the project is going ahead full steam without any input from the affected community.

(4) We feel that we should have an opportunity to discuss our concerns to the council and the mayor before the Town goes any further!

(5) We feel that the council has not thoroughly researched the cost of this project: getting the house up to code, handicap-accessible ramps and bathrooms, removal of several mature pine trees and landscaping, sidewalks, signage, parking lot, etc. This is money coming from all our taxes!

(6) What about safety issues for the children who play nearby? Is it going to be gated and locked at night? Who is going to work at the museum and take care of the grounds?

(7) Why are they trying to rush this through when several property owners are away for the winter? Why aren’t we afforded an opportunity to discuss before the shovel hits the ground?

A great alternative was suggested: Why not put the house across the street in the park located on the corner of Routes 1 and 26? It would showcase the house better with ample parking with perhaps gardens on both sides. Much better than to shoehorn the house on a narrow patch of green space. This location would make the park more “people friendly,” where families can visit the museum and perhaps picnic with a view of the Totem Pole and downtown Bethany.

Let’s not forget what makes Bethany so special: a quiet resort for families to love!

Mary Jane Tropea
Bethany Beach