Letters: June, 30 2006

Reader: Thanks for nothing, Sen. Adams

With only a few more days left in this year’s legislative session, it now does appear Thurman Adams will let HB 170 die in his Executive Committee rather than bring it to the senate floor for a vote.

Thus one of Sussex’s County’s own legislators will be the main reason his fellow county residents will not receive fairer representation on the county council, nor relief from the incessant and irresponsible land development that has plagued our county for years now. For those who bemoan the lack of political clout “below the canal,” may I suggest this issue is a prime example as to why that is.

When some of our own state legislators from Sussex are unwilling to stand up and band together to fight for legislation that would benefit the majority of their constituents, rest assured that fact is duly noted by the other legislators throughout the state.

So, when a Sussex senator (Adams) is blocking passage of popular legislation (HB 170) and is joined by three other Sussex coastal legislators (Sen. George Bunting; Rep. John Atkins; Rep. Gerald Hocker) in sponsoring alternative legislation (SB 304) which would supercede HB 170 and effectively kill it while doing nothing for their constituents in the next six years, legislators around the state get their message load and clear: “We don’t want HB 170 to become law.”

Thus giving credence to the argument, why should other legislators take Sussex county citizens’ demand seriously when our own legislators do not?

It seems as if an concentrated effort that began over two years ago to bring more representative county government and in the process gain a measure of control over how our land resources in the county are to be utilized has come full cycle with no significant change(s) occurring. That does not bode well for the future quality of life in Sussex County and is indeed sad to contemplate.

However, what has been gained from this effort is an understanding of how such an abominable situation came to be and how it is still being perpetuated to this very day.

What started out as an effort to convince the Sussex County Council majority to be more responsive to their constituents’ needs while making more responsible land-use decisions, ultimately became an effort to uncover the reason for their arrogance and supreme belief that they were not accountable to anyone for what they did or said.

In the process, we learned how the council districts were so gerrymandered that for a long time most all of the new development was in one district, and while the population of that district swelled enormously it was still only represented by one member, thus not able to be proportionately represented at the council table.

We also discovered how two council members representing 40 percent of the council vote were from the same town that represented only 2.5 percent of the county’s population because the district line was drawn through the middle of that town. So we now better understood why it was difficult to replace the incumbents at election time.

However, that didn’t entirely explain the feeling of arrogance and the untouchable aura most of the members exhibited toward county residents at the public meetings. That revelation was to come later.

It came in the person of Thurman Adamsm who refused to let HB 170 out of his Senate committee for a vote last year after it was overwhelmingly passed in the House. He has continued to bury it in his committee for this entire legislative session as well, in spite of the bill’s popularity with Sussex residents and his fellow senators.

For reasons best known to Adams he has managed to disenfranchise his fellow senators and the people they represent. Consequently Adams has been clearly identified as the protector of the Sussex County Council majority and the source of their feeling of invincibility.

Without question, he is their “enabler.” Without his aid they would be susceptible to legislation that could help to open up their council to more democracy. Since this is a very big legislative “assist” Adams is providing the county council, the question on most people’s minds is: what’s in it for Thurman?

We have also come to realize that not all Sussex legislators are looking out for our best interests, and thus are part of the problem rather than being a source of the solution. As a consequence they too have become “enablers” for the county council as well. This has to change if we are to have our future concerns taken seriously by the state legislature. If not, we will continue to be considered by those north of the canal as not only lower but definitely slower (as in “catching on”).

Since the current council has repeatedly refused any and all efforts to voluntarily increase the number of members it becomes evident that the only way to change anything is thru our state legislature. That means voting out those incumbents legislators who won’t stand with us on our legitimate needs and to find and vote for challengers who will, regardless of party affiliation.

Being as 2006 is an election year, that means all of our Sussex representatives and two of our Sussex senators are up for re-election. As the gods of politics would have it, those two senators just happen to be Thurman Adams and George Bunting. What a wonderful opportunity if we are but willing to take advantage of it to change our county’s future.

Vance Phillips is also up for re-election in 2006, so those that don’t care for his brand of politics, as well as his council votes on land-use issues, can let him know how you feel this November.

The challenge is a big one, but a number of citizen groups though out the state will be joining forces to identify and encourage potential candidates to run against those incumbents who seem to have forgotten their constituency. Land use will be the biggest issue in Sussex County and, thanks to a state-wide series of newspaper articles, it will be a huge issue all over Delaware. Also, the timing may be right as voter discontent with incumbents seem to be reaching an all-time high.

In the May 16 Pennsylvania primary, 17 legislators, including the two top Senate leaders, were ousted in the biggest upheaval in a Keystone State primary in more than a quarter of a century. A legislative leader had not lost re-election since 1964.

In the May 2 Indiana primary, both the Senate President Pro Tem and a House member were turned out.

In North Carolina, the House Speaker and two state representatives were sent packing on May 2.

In West Virginia the House Majority Leader was defeated

In Kentucky a judicial committee chairman and another House member were defeated.

All in all, 10 primaries ousted 25 incumbent legislators.

An April 20 poll by the Pew Research Center found “a majority of voters (53 percent) said they would like to see most members of congress defeated. That figure reflects an anti-incumbent sentiment not seen since the historic 1994 campaign.”

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released May 17 found “55% of respondents were inclined to consider someone besides their congressional representative in this year’s election. That figure is the highest since 1994.”

Offering to join with our citizen groups is an organization called Delaware Clean Sweep. Their goal is working toward making state-wide, meaningful, non-partisan political change. The central focus of their operation is to encourage new candidates from all duly registered parties to enter races that usually go unchallenged year after election year. They are a spin off from a Pennsylvania group that has been very active in the recent Pennsylvania primary campaigns and have modeled their organization after them.

It won’t be easy, but if some of our elected legislators continue to put their interests and those of special-interest groups before the majority interests of their constituents, there is no other way to effectively achieve the representative county government we all seek.

Allen Ide

Teachers have homosexual agenda

Once again we find ourselves in the middle of a battlefield. This battlefield is right here in our public schools. It seems the National Education Association is set to endorse homosexual marriage. The teacher’s union is planning to promote homosexual marriage in the public schools at their convention coming up in Orlando June 29 thru July 6.

The new proposal is found under the B-8 Diversity paragraph which states “The Association ... believes in the importance of observances, programs and curricula that accurately portray and recognize the roles, contributions, cultures, and history of these diverse groups and individuals. The Association believes that legal rights and responsibilities with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, legal immigration, domestic partnerships, and civil unions and/or marriage belong to all these diverse groups and individuals.”

The new NEA proposal essentially says schools should support and actively promote homosexual marriage and other forms of marriage in their schools. This will be done through every avenue available to them, including textbooks, to all children at all age levels and without the permission or knowledge of parents. This will include all public schools in America.

As I write this letter, this is being promoted in the schools of California. I don’t know how you feel about this, but I know that as long as I have breath, I will fight to eliminate associations that have no regard for our children, their parents and society.

Please do not misconstrue what I mean. We are to love our fellow men and women, but we are not to condone their chosen lifestyle or accept it as a norm. Please let your voice be heard. Write and call the NEA and let them know how you as parents and grandparents feel. Your children’s life and future are at risk.

Lidia Smith

Family thanks community for support

The family of Roger Street would like to express their sincere appreciation to all who cared for us in our time of need before and when Roger passed to Glory.

To all of you who brought food, sent flowers, paid visits, attended the memorial service and joined us for the wonderful dinner — a very sincere and heartfelt thank you from all of us.

Even though we knew the end was coming, it doesn’t make the final passing any easier. However the love and care of our many Christian friends will always remain a great source of comfort to each of us.

If you were unable to join us, the kids created a Web site of memories: http://rogerstreet.blogspot.com. May God bless you all for your Christian caring and compassion.

Susan Street
Bethany Beach

Community, coaches supply help for team

Selbyville Middle School’s baseball team went undefeated this season — a feat it has accomplished in three of its past four seasons. This experience has been very exciting for the players, coaches, managers, parents and the school; we are very proud of everyone involved in this achievement. We would like to specifically thank Coach Jesse Steele, Coach Tim Clausen and Coach Sam O’Shields for sharing their knowledge of the game and sense of “team” with the boys.

The team recently held a raffle fundraiser to reward the players and managers with T-shirts and jackets, as well as to purchase much-needed equipment for the future. The team would like to extend its sincerest thanks to the following businesses and individuals who donated items or gift certificates to this year’s raffle: The Henlopen Hotel, Best Western Sea Bay Inn (Ocean City), Steve Shultie, Seaside Country Store, Delaware National Bank, Delmarva Shorebirds, Surf Sessions (Brett Buchler), Bikinis & More, Frog House Restaurant, Bear Trap Dunes, The Bay Club, Bayside Resort Golf Club, Grotto Pizza, Armand’s Pizza, McCabe’s Gourmet Market, Bethany Blues, G & E Hardware, Frederick Ford/Mercury, Silpada Designs, Bethany Cycle & Fitness, Denise Rines (Avon Representative), Chris Antonio (Designer Fitness), Jimmy’s Kitchen, Imaginations, Ken’s Bayside, Magnolia’s, Nicola Pizza, Ruddertowne and Indian River Baseball Club.

This strong sense of community is deeply heartening. Your generosity and support will long be remembered.

Dorian Rowe Kleinstuber and the Selbyville Middle School Baseball Team

Story made family happy and proud

On behalf of my entire family, I would like to thank and praise Jonathan Starkey for his article, “Celebrating America” in the June 2 edition of your newspaper. He did an excellent job of recounting my mother’s story. His genuine interest in my mother’s experiences through World War II and her life-changing trip to this country on May 17, 1956, touched my mother deeply.

On May 17, 2006, we all celebrated 50 proud years of her American citizenship. Thank you for joining the celebration and making this a very special anniversary.

Joann DeVito and family

Reader takes exception with column

Mr. McCann, I take issue with your comments (“Point of No Return,” June 23) about the national flag. You say you are a “huge freedom-of-speech guy.” I hope, then, that you will prove it by printing my letter.

You support people’s rights to be bigots, racists and hatemongers yet take offence at a flag being burned. You conclude with: “Just don’t desecrate anything that people die for.”

How do you feel about those who are being persecuted and murdered by those you mentioned? Do they not rate higher than a flag? I ask rhetorically: Was the flag made for the people, or were the people made for the flag?

As much as I respect our flag, I don’t think anyone ever gave their lives for it, because if they did, then they died for a piece of cloth, the intrinsic value of which is a few dollars. What people gave their lives for was the country represented by the flag.

Seemingly, it is OK to exercise one’s right to insult and hurt other humans but not OK to insult a piece of cloth. Any flag burning is an insult to the nation. A piece of cloth is destroyed but the nation still stands as firm as ever, so no real harm is done.

Which is of more value — human beings or a piece of cloth? For the answer to that I look to scripture. God tells us that we must love one another. He says nothing about loving flags.

I am not a flag-burner nor do I wish to see the flag being burned, yet it can never be more valuable than human life or rights. Jesus Christ gave his life for people, not pieces of cloth.

John Henrick