Letters to the Editor — December 4, 2015

Shore Dems take issue with offshore drilling


There are phrases that sound, for most of us, not only boring, but like they should be “someone else’s” concern: “off-shore drilling” and “seismic blasting.” But for those of us who live in the towns and communities that front on the Atlantic Ocean or are close to the Atlantic, those words are not someone else’s concern; they’re ours.

Just about anyone who lives in the area from Bethany to Fenwick and west to Frankford, Dagsboro and beyond are here because we choose to be. We’ve either been born here and have chosen to stay instead of relocating to more urban places for jobs or better opportunities, or we’ve moved here from those urban locations seeking the quieter, more “laid-back” lifestyle. Whichever it is, we’ve chosen to live near the bountiful and amazing Atlantic. We love watching the dolphins play just off-shore; we’re enveloped by the quiet of walking the beach in the early morning; we love the tidal marshes. Some of us have even been fortunate enough to witness a baby harp seal coming ashore to rest at the Indian River Inlet or on one of the beaches. Or we enjoy — perhaps earn our living from — one of the many ocean-related sports, such as fishing or surfing.

What happens to this idyllic world that we live in when off-shore drilling for oil and natural gas and the necessary seismic surveying are added to the picture?

A little background on seismic testing: Before the actual drilling can occur, oil companies have to map the ocean floor in order to find potential drilling spots. This is done through seismic surveys, which involve firing a seismic airgun in the water every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, usually by more than one oil company at the same time.

The sonic blast emitted from the seismic airgun is 230 decibels, approximately twice as loud as a 747 jet at take-off. Often, arrays of up to 40 airguns are used at the same time. The sea animals and fish cannot tolerate decibel levels this high. Mass strandings and deaths of whales, dolphins and sea birds have been attributed to these seismic blasts at many locations throughout the world. Seismic surveying has also been shown to harm juvenile fish and planktonic fish eggs and to have chased fish away from commercial fishing areas.

There have already been 10 permits submitted by oil companies to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for drilling in the Atlantic between New Jersey and Florida. Three of these would conduct seismic surveys off of the Delmarva coast, potentially as early as 2017. With only 3 percent of the U.S.’s estimated oil reserves and 3 percent of estimated natural gas reserves contained in federal waters in the Mid- and South Atlantic waters, is it worth it? That 3 percent of oil reserves would only fuel the U.S. for six months. Again, is it worth it?

For more information and more details, please visit the Assateague Coastal Trust’s (ACT) website at http://www.actforbays.org/WhatWeDo/offshoredrilling.html. There are many informative graphs and charts, including a map with the “footprint” of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill laid over the Atlantic Ocean off of our coast.

All of us have a stake in this… and in stopping it before it goes further. The Lewes Town Council voted unanimously on Nov. 9 to oppose off-shore testing and drilling, the first town in the First State to do so.

We need to contact our town officials, whether in Bethany Beach, South Bethany, Fenwick Island, Millville, Ocean View, Dagsboro, Selbyville or Frankford and enlist them in our efforts to say “Not Off Our Coast.” A list of the town officials can be found on the Shore Democrats Facebook page at Facebook.com/Shore-Democrats.

Also, an article titled “Not Off My Coast, Why Delawareans Must Speak Out Against Offshore Testing & Drilling” is available on shoredemocrats.com.

Anne M. Allen, President
Eric E. West, Vice President
Cyndee Trower, Secretary
Sallie Melvin, Treasurer
Natasha Reatig, Communications
Shore Democrats Executive Committee

Reader responds to previous letter


In response to letter to the editor, Nov. 27, 2015, submitted by Patricia W. Frey: Ms. Frey’s comments follow the same logic and rhetoric many people have regarding what and how much humanitarian aid the U.S. should provide to refugees, including those from Syria.

Ms. Frey states immigrants have been welcomed into the U.S. for years, but she neglected to explain the reason why we currently have so many immigrants coming to the U.S. In 1965, our government changed the immigrant quotas that previously restricted the number entering the U.S.

Once the change was implemented, the number quadrupled from 9.6 to 41.3 million in 2013, an all-time high (excerpt from Migration Policy Institute). The 41.3 million does not include the estimated 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2014 (excerpt from PEW Research).

The U.S. cannot continue to allow unlimited numbers of immigrants into the U.S. and remain viable. People must realize there are not enough workers and businesses paying taxes to support all the people who are here now nor the ones who want to come.

A group of immigrants were recently stopped at our southern border by Customs officials. The officials asked them why they wanted to come into the U.S., and their response, “Everything is free there.” This misconception seems to be universal assessment among immigrants — everything in the U.S. is free.

Taxpayers know that is not true. Immigrants may be given freebies by state and federal governments when they arrive in the U.S. but those freebies come at taxpayer expense. The U.S. national debt is over $18 trillion and growing. No one seems to correlate our national debt with all our give away programs.

We, as a nation cannot continue tax-and-spend economics. Every few months, a U.S. company moves out of the U.S. to another country because of lower taxes and wages; this results in thousands of jobless people in the U.S. who need government assistance.

Ms. Frey should know this fact as she lives in an area (Dagsboro) where two major Delaware employers (Vlasic and Allen Harim) have closed. Our jobless citizens go to the same food banks, employment centers and subsidized housing places as immigrants.

This nation has a duty to take care of its own people before accepting the needy from other countries. It’s not rational to think the U.S. can accommodate all the immigrants from countries all over the world that want to come to the U.S. for its freebies and stability. They need to stay in their own countries and fight for same type of government the U.S. has, just like the colonists did.

The immigrants come from countries with governments older than the U.S., and they need to work through their problems, not run from them. Ms. Frey stated Gov. Markell accepted three families but did not mention the number of people in the families — were there 10, 15, 20?

Neither Ms. Frey nor anyone else knows exactly how many Syrian families are in Delaware, because the organizations that place them will not divulge who they are, when or where they will be placed, and how many people are in the group. These organizations work in total secrecy regarding immigrant resettlements and if anyone asks questions, they will receive no answers.

The Syrians will probably settle where other people of their culture and faith are in Delaware. They will find places, people and things they are familiar with, like a mosque, stores and schools. Wilmington has a mosque, an Islamic center, two Muslim schools (K-12), with about 150 students in each.

They teach the usual curriculum every school is required to have, in addition to Arabic/Islamic studies. The children learn about Allah and Muhammed and the Quran and are required to incorporate their culture/religion in their daily studies, unlike public schools that are forbidden to have any religious studies in class.

Ms. Frey stated 10 other Democratic governors have accepted Syrian immigrants, however she did not mention if anyone knows if the immigrants are still where they were placed. It’s a free country, and they can move anywhere in the U.S. they want, including Delaware.

Ms. Frey identifies Sen. Carper’s time on the Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee as proof that he knows what’s best for Delaware and citizens of the U.S. This is the same person who supported the Iran nuclear agreement, which was violated by the Iranians before the ink was dry on the agreement.

He and others with the same mindset refer to the U.S. “vetting” system for Syrian immigrants as sufficient to allow them entry into the U.S. The “vetting” process does not include much information — their names — if it is their name, as there are no databases to identify a person by name. In the Arabic/Islamic culture there are no middle names, children are given their father’s name and surname, so two or more males can have the same name, and women who marry may keep their family name, adding to the confusion. Women do not always take their husbands name, so it is difficult to know if an Arabic/Islamic woman is married and to whom.

There’s no number assigned to an individual, such as a Social Security number, no records where they lived, jobs they’ve had, verification of family members, criminal activities they’ve been involved in, their drug use, if they have mental health issues, if they served in the military and which one, etc.

The U.S. allows the immigrant to “attest” to their need to immigrate. They can also be verified by family members who are also wanting to immigrate to the U.S. Does anyone doubt that a person validating their relative would say anything negative? It’s doubtful.

It takes 18 to 24 months to “vet” the immigrant because U.S. representatives monitor the prospective immigrant for that period of time. If you think that it’s too long, consider the “vetting” process for a U.S. citizen applying for a job with a government contractor or the federal government, they must answer a lengthy background investigation questionnaire that requires them to backtrack, at least five years, for an entry level position. The U.S. investigation includes validation of birth, place of birth, marriage and divorce, other names used, schools attended, employers, military service, local law enforcement records, the FBI records, etc.

It is clear Ms. Frey believes that Syrian immigrants are not a security risk. She is both uninformed and naive.

Ginny Hall

Reader: Medical pot can help many


On Oct. 27, 2015, I attended the first meeting of the Medical Marijuana Act Oversight Committee, in Dover. While the meeting was mainly about electing its officers, and what procedures to accept, we were given a PowerPoint presentation by Dawn Brubaker of the Delaware Department of Health & Social Services, as to how well the program was functioning. She also provided statistics on the patients who are using the program. It was a very informative presentation, and I left with a better understanding of cannabis, as a medicine, and who is using it.

The most surprising fact is that 50 percent of the patients who use the medicine are ages 50 to 69. That surprised me, as we always have the image of those who want to use it, as anti-social teen drop-outs. This info shows that the myths of the past millennium need to be abandoned.

Secondly, I was surprised to hear that “severe pain” is the symptom that most of these elderly people are trying to alleviate, with medical cannabis. It is a higher percentage, (51 percent), than the next ailment, which are muscle spasms. That condition makes up about 28 percent of total patients. Many are using it as a substitute for the less accurate, addicting and toxic pain medication.

Thirdly, I was surprised that only approximately 778 citizens of Delaware are allowed to access this medicine. The list of ailments which are allowed is very short; only about seven items long. When I heard them speaking about the “patient-to-facility-size” ratio, it was very low. If they increased the amount of ailments that are allowed, to at least the levels of New Mexico, many, many more Delawareans would benefit from pain relief. Again, this is a 100 percent legal program for qualifying people, here in Delaware.

It’s unfortunate that many who live in Sussex County are not getting the message that they can qualify for a medical cannabis card. Sen. Hocker voted against the measure and is against any forms of decriminalization or regulation.

The hurdles which a patient faces to get access to this 100 percent legal medicine is appalling and embarrassing. I will never understand why Sen. Hocker and the Republicans of Sussex County are against the best possible medical treatment for their constituents. I feel that they treat us like children. (And I’m registered Republican).

I urge you, even if you do not feel that you have a use for cannabis, to help those very sick people. Call or email Sen. Hocker, at (302) 744-4048 and Rep. Gray, at (302) 744-4171 and urge them to open a compassion center right here in Sussex County. The program is actually in violation of the law by not having centers in all three counties. Or urge them for full legalization and allow the citizens of Sussex County the lucrative opportunities that we see in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and D.C. If it’s good enough for D.C., it’s good enough for DE!

John Sybert
Ocean View

Reader agrees with Hocker’s stance

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to state Sen. Gerald Hocker (R-20th) and was sent to the Coastal Point for publication.

Your stance with regard to Syrian refugees was a difficult one. I am in agreement with you on your stance.

From a financial perspective, the plan should be to attack ISIS and loosen its hold on the 50 banks that ISIS illegally captured. Money gleaned from returning their banks to the people of Syria could then be returned to the people of Syria to give them the power to control their lives within their communities.

From a humane perspective, truly, Syrians do not want to leave their homeland, their culture. In the long term, the price that we will ultimately bear, due to the fallout of displaced citizens, without their network of support from their fellow citizens, their culture, their purpose, will be a large, long-term financial burden on us. It will mean generations of frustration and demoralization for them as they struggle to assimilate.

Assisting Syrian citizens to leave their homeland is akin to finding baby animals in the woods and bringing them home to care for them, instead of waiting for their mother, their pack, to return from hunting and teach them the necessary skills to get by in the wild. Without those learned skills, and due to the stress that is placed on these animals as they are ultimately returned to their environment, their lives and future generations are impacted negatively.

I agree with Dr. Ben Carson’s triage methodology. Quarantine ISIS. Don’t colonize it. We need to assist Syrians in their efforts to stay put, and stay safe. Prevent ISIS from capturing their malleable children, their future ideologies. Let them live lives full of options, of promise, not despair.

Let’s be expedient, and focus our resources on solving the problem and not the symptoms. This is a repeat of Nazi Germany, with the goal of becoming Nazi Earth through brainwashing and extermination. We need to think preemptively.

Nothing succeeds like success. It doesn’t mean that it is right, only that it succeeds. Democracy is hard. It is fragile. Its existence is no accident.

Thanks for having the moral compass and courage to speak candidly. It is one of the things I most admire about you.

Anna von Lindenberg

Soccer boosters grateful for support


On behalf of the Indian River High School boys’ soccer team, I would like to thank our amazing community for your support this season for the boys. We have held several fundraising events through the course of the season which have had some great participation and we have had equipment donated to our concession stand, as well. We could not keep it going without the families and local businesses who contribute their money and time.

We are so proud of the boys for bringing home the state championship! How great it was for the players and coaches to have the wonderful sendoff as they left town escorted by our local emergency companies. The escort back into town and then to the high school after the win was nothing short of incredible! The team was so excited and honored to have such fanfare to acknowledge their victorious season. It is certainly something they will never forget.

So thank you again to a wonderful group of people and organizations who help to make living here such a special experience.

Doreen Walls, President
IRHS Soccer Boosters