A letter to Steele


A school bond referendum is scheduled for a vote on Feb. 5 seeking to raise funds for badly needed and worthy public school needs. A positive vote will increase property taxes in Sussex County, with estimates varying.

Resident George Dobson proposes defeat for the referendum and in its place a tax that would be assessed against each family with a child in school, phased out gradually until graduation. Mr. Steele, the district superintendent, proposes passage.

Mr. Dobson’s views, taken as a whole, reflect the frustration of daily living under the moronic deliberative zoning process in Sussex County. The plea to attend school referendum meetings to get the facts directs you to the wrong meeting. Please, Mr. Steele, instead go to a Planning & Zoning Commission meeting or a Sussex County Council meeting that reflects upon not one whit of interest in public safety, public health, school impact or roads as yet again more building by developers in the County is approved.

With the authority of your office, Mr. Steele, address these august bodies and hear for yourself “harrumphs” galore that complaints of public safety and school over-crowding are outside the scope of the sacred duty of these government bodies to please builders and developers.

Additionally, Mr. Steele, you will not find any comfort with Sen. Hocker or Rep. Gray, either, as they will lull you to sleep with their deft deflection of responsibility all the while reciting incantations of who is responsible for spending our tax dollars.

The coverage by the Coastal Point of the school referendum fairly credits school needs based entirely on impending home construction in Millsboro and other places throughout Sussex County. But the situation is far more draconian than described. Our board of supervisors has approved the construction of thousands of new home units, and there is no end in sight.

Mr. Dobson’s views merely portend that the days of addressing Sussex County’s multitude of problems in a piecemeal fashion are coming to an end. It is not that residents are against education. It is beyond debate that our “Boomer” generation recognizes that level of education is the touchstone for success in life. Children, and I mean “all” children, deserve the best resources we can afford to set them on their path to success.

But, dang, aren’t we all just fed up with Sussex County government that serves well special interests and lectures residents with the intricacies of where responsibility lies, all the while protecting yet another development consisting of hundreds of homes?

Let the builders and developers hold “bake sales” to acquire funds to improve all our roads, improve all our schools, improve our fire and police protection, and improve our health and climate. Get the money from the folks with the money and, by the way, who benefit regally from their collaboration with Sussex County government.

Sadly, all we get is a “new and improved” Comprehensive Plan that serves as a template justifying growth at the expense of quality of life and as a shield for County administrators to protect the “sacred interests” of builders and developers.

Mr. Steele should demand inclusion in the public record at all Planning & Zoning Commission meetings and Board of Supervisor meetings a written objection, well-reasoned and factually compelling, to any zoning request that increases housing density. He should be joined with similar objections from responsible police and fire officials and DELDOT officials.

Mr. Steele, plead for votes as you should, but isn’t it time to speak, publicly and forcefully, truth to power?


James Angus