Saturday, January 14, 2006
Delmarva Model Railroad Club
I went by the Delmarva Model Railroad Club Open House today. As we in town know it is in Camelot Hall, second floor, where they have a permanent display of train tracks and trains. It looked like they had a good turnout of people. Their displays of trains sets and landscaping is just amazing. It is one of the more positive features of Delmar.
It brings to mind my first encounter with the phrase "Christmas Garden". I am sure I was well into my 40's and a Baltimore person mentioned they had set up their Christmas Garden. Being someone who is interested in flowers and Christmas is somewhat of a dead time for gardens I asked what he had planted. Well, it turns out in Baltimorian language Christmas Garden is a train set. What can you expect from people that have sauerkraut with turkey at Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Secrecy in Government
Todays NewsJournal has an article on the problems the Delaware Manufactured Home Owners Associations is having in bring a bill to the floor of the Delaware General Assembly. It does bring to light an issue I have always had with Government acting behind closed doors. The Federal Government is a prime offender of this and it has gone on so long, and public apathy is so great it will probably continue. In Delaware the General Assembly has it's exemption from the Freedom of Information Act. I think it is time to vote Senator Thurman Adams out of office. In Delmar I have seen an increase in closed door sessions. It has increased even more since Mayor John Outten was made Mayor. I am told by Sara Byrum King that it is all legal as it is discussions on contracts and annexations etc. Perhaps it is one reason why when a motion is made to annex etc the council appear to be already in agreement with one another. No doubt these matters were decided without any public input unless you consider input from Real Estate Developers in closed sessions as public input. I believe that if you are spending taxpayer's money everything should be public. This includes salaries of town employees, contracts that are being made, budget workshops etc.
A few years back my wife and I would attend the Delmar school district meetings. I guess we made too many comments as George Stone had the meetings changed from a public meeting to a meeting held in public but no public comment was allowed. Yet the school district has no problem in asking for tax increases. Like sheep we are allowed to be sheared but have no say in how the wool will be used.
A Blog I would recommend is Paul Smith's which is at http://paulsmithjr.blogspot.com
An interesting event in the Delaware legal system, Tom Capano's death sentence was overturned. Tom Capano, an attorney, was convicted of killing Anne Marie Fahey back in 1996. I always found it interesting that he was convicted without ever producing a dead body. He was another person who bullied his way around Delaware thinking he was above moral and legal law. Now it would seem because the jury voted 11-1 that the murder was premeditated the Delaware Supreme Court has order a new resentencing. No doubt this will result in a life sentence instead of death. I have no doubt that eventually he will be freed. We have all seen this type of people constantly escaping any type of justice. Oliver North comes readly to mind. More locally is Frank Gulley, previous mayor on the Maryland side of town. In Frank's case he is receiving justice for his acts toward his stepdaughter. As for as I know he is still in Jail and should be.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
One of many things that disturb me in the lack of public turnout to town meetings. Now last night at the police Commission meeting I seem to have to been the only one to attend it. Crime in Delmar is increasing and issues with the police have always existed. This would have been the time to make public comment and influence the direction the police force is taking. With the annexation that has taken place on the Maryland side of town and the new annexation on the Delaware side of Town, that Mayor Outten will push through, you would think new residents would be interested in attending. Twenty years ago when I was a councilman and mayor, the number of people who attended town meetings was about the same - one or two at best. If the only people who show up to meetings are real estate developers than the only side of the story the Town council will hear is the Real Estate Developer side. The council will go along with what they say. Most people seem to think that if they express their opinion on the street to a councilperson than that is the same as attending a meeting and making comment to the entire council. It is not. I can only encourage everyone to attend the meetings and find out what is going on in Delmar before an issue is voted on and decided. To appear before the council to disagree with a decided matter has considerably less influence than showing up and disagreeing before the issue is put to a vote. With the lack of newspaper coverage we have of Delmar meetings the only way to find out what is happening is to attend the meetings. I know the meetings are frequently long and boring and at times it appear the mayor and council are not interested and have already made their minds up on a matter, but it is part of a citizen's duty to control the direction the town should go in.
The apathy extends to the number of people who turn out to vote in town elections. I have always felt that if you had 50 people in Delmar who would vote in the direction you were interested in you could fill the town council and mayor position and control the town. By not voting you ensure this will happen.
Early Police Commission Meeting
I attended the Police Commission meeting in Delmar last night. In spite of it advertised time of 6:30 when I walked in at 6:25 the meeting was well in progress. I was the only member of the public to sign the "sign in" log, so I guess if there is no public you can start whenever you want. I will be curious to see in the offical minutes what time will be shown as the start time. I guess the advertised start time is just a suggested start time like the suggested selling price on merchandise. Anyway Town Manager Sara Bynum King, Delaware Mayor John Outten, Delaware Councilperson Diane Buckley, and Maryland Mayor Douglas Niblett were the Police Commission. Police Chief Hal Sayler discussed the shift schedule and overtime while I was there. This seem to be a constant discussion item in all the public safety organizations discussions elsewhere I have attended. He than gave the Commission a report on his resouce needs for the next five years and that ended the meeting.
Monday, January 09, 2006
I stopped by Delmar Liquor store today to get my lottery ticket. They are doing a great job on the building. I think Dave Trice owns it. Makes the old down town buildings across the railroad track really look bad. I understand he is looking at renting the back part of the building to a cigarette outlet. Alcohol and tobacco certainly go together.
The Police Commission meets tonight at 6:30.
Since the Maryland and Delaware elected town officials have decided to drop having separate town meeting and go for one long drawn out joint meeting, I have not been attending them. I did stop by town hall today and pick up copies of the last approved minutes (November 1) of the Joint Council meeting. Two items are interesting first Stan Benson, a Planning and Zoning Commission member, asked why the Town's Web Page was not updated (see a previous post I did on the Town website) . Town Manager Sara Bynum King said changes to the computer capability were required before the website could be complete. Now I certainly plea ignorance on a number of things, website maintenance being one of them. I would think with the number of Town employees we have one of them should know something about it. If not an employee, someone in the Town I am sure would volunteer. Website design is one thing, but I would think maintenance would be easier.
The second item may be more serious. In the November 1st joint council meeting Mayor (I have never seen an annexation I didn't like) Outten appointed his wife Rochelle Outten to the Planning and Zoning Commission. This assures him of having an additional vote and input on any new annexation the Town of Delmar Delaware may entertain. This should certainly smooth the way for developers to pass on the expense of building to the taxpayers of Delmar. We will wait and see how this goes.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
I stopped by Food Lion today to pick up a few items. They refurbished Food Lion a while back and made a mess of it. It looks nice but it has less basic food selection and higher prices. Instead of increasing customers the change has probably drove more to Wal Mart to shop.
The checkout clerks attitude really varies. The High School and College Students that work there for the most part I don't mind. Frankly, they are young enough you don't expect anything of them. The older women that works there do bother me. They not friendly, and a couple seem to go around acting like they have a corn cob stuck up their ass. The older ones are the ones the should set an example for the younger ones. I think things were better when Mr. Owens was manager. Now there was someone who didn't have a life. You could go in at 8 in the morning and he was there. You could go in at 8 at night and he was there. You could go in at 2 in the morning and he was there. If I was an employer he is the one I would hire as he gave at least 110%. Speaking of Food Lion employee with no life; Casie is one. Casie works on College breaks and Food Lion is her life.
Kenny and Erin Got Married
Congratulations to Kenny and Erin who got married yesterday. I understand it was a very nice wedding and reception. My oldest daughter Megan came home from college to attend. Megan should be going back to college today. She is excite over her internship with the family court system in Wilmington.
Weight Loss Miracle
No not me, I am just as fat as ever. A friend of our's, Gale, has succeeded in losing ten pounds. She it did it thru walking four miles a day and, that dreaded word, dieting. Considering it follows right after the Christmas holiday eating marathon, it truely is a miracle. If she can do it, God knows I can, so I guess it back to pumping iron (those 5 pound dumbars).