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Archive for November 30th, 2009

What a difference a year makes. About 13 months ago, Gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee and I proposed (picking up on former State Rep. Bob Valihura’s idea) that DNREC be split into two divisions so that the various regulatory and operating entities, which are often at loggerheads with one another, can truly focus on their unique missions. Now, according to the News Journal (The article can be found here), DNREC Secretary, Colin O’Mara, has agreed that DNREC needs to be divided.

To think that it was only 13 months ago that candidate Markell, himself, stated that this idea was “like rearranging the deck chairs on a ship,” and the Candidate Denn thought the idea lacked “serious[ness].”

Bill & I thought that it was bold, and while the lack of boldness of action of the Markell Administration has been widely discussed across the State (his efforts to date include a proposed 8% salary cut across the board and introducing more gambling), eventually all good ideas seem to be considered, and I’m honored that Bill and I have been able to help in a bi-partisan fashion. While we lost the election, the ideas we brought to the debate can now help Delaware, which is the point of an election, anyway.

As for bi-partisanship, too bad that the Governor’s administration has not been operating in a bi-partisan manner (the details of which I will share in some later posts, but you can also check two previous posts I’ve made on the secret meeting with General Assembly Democrats and a Democrat-only community meeting in Newark). So, despite its partisanship, I will endeavor to help Secretary O’Mara in one other point. He is quoted in the News Journal article that “We are trying to avoid layoffs at all costs.” In that case, let me guide you to Senator Colin Bonini’s plan to reduce the size of government without layoffs by offering an Early Retirement Option (You can check out Colin’s website here).

One other point, there is a blatant inaccuracy in the article, and I must admit that I’m getting very tired of seeing the same error published over and over again. The article states DNREC “is operating with about … 9 percent fewer employees currently than it did last year.” However, according to the Department of Labor’s own employment report dated November 20, 2009, Delaware’s government has had NO REDUCTION IN STATE EMPLOYMENT OVER THE LAST 12 MONTHS!!! So, if Secretary O’Mara has 9% fewer employees, I’d like to know which agency has hired new people???

PS: The following is the text of the News Journal editorial from October 12, 2008. Looks like the Editorial page is a bunch of “radicals”, too:

Splitting state agency could go far in ending bureaucratic gridlock

It’s seldom our habit to endorse candidates’ ideas in the heat of a campaign, no matter the political party.

But the idea raised last week by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee and lieutenant governor candidate Charlie Copeland is not a new one and gives us another opportunity to repeat support for it.

The state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is a behemoth of a state bureaucracy with myriad responsibilities ranging from issuing fishing licenses to fining industrial polluters like the refinery near Delaware City.

It’s the range of duties and missions that makes the idea of breaking up the agency attractive, as we said when Rep. Robert Valihura [R-Brandywine Hundred] proposed the idea some time back.

It’s not our intention to create another new state cabinet from whole cloth, but rather divide the duties among those related to controlling what does or doesn’t go into the environment and managing the many natural resources we here in Delaware are proud of.

There should be no reason to add additional personnel to either department, although a new cabinet secretary, a couple support staff members and new quarters would be required.

The Democratic candidates, Jack Markell and Matt Denn, said said splitting DNREC would be like rearranging the deck chairs on a ship.

Mr. Denn said what’s needed is a more serious approach to law enforcement.”

He is correct about that, which is why it only makes sense to differentiate between the regulatory and enforcement arms of DNREC and and management of natural resources.

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I came across the following chart (the link to the original can be found here). The same chart was emailed to me through another source. Now, I’ll admit that I haven’t verified this completely, but you can go to Wikipedia and check out the cabinets of all US Presidents (The link can be found here). I’ve checked out a few (I forgot that Truman actually had the “progressive” Henry Wallace as his Commerce Secretary as a holdover from FDR – ouch). Kind of a fun history exercise, actually.

Anyway, I also assume that the creator of the chart gives a nod of acceptance to private sector attorneys. But, it is clear that the balance between private sector input and government sector input is badly skewed in the Obama Administration. What makes it even more troubling is that these folks think that they can run banks, auto manufacturers, energy companies, and the health care industry — even though they’ve never run anything.

[The chart] examines the prior private sector experience of the cabinet officials since 1900 that one might expect a president to turn to in seeking advice about helping the economy. It includes Secretaries of State; Commerce; Treasury; Agriculture; Interior; Labor; Transportation; Energy; and Housing & Urban Development and excludes Postmaster General; Navy; War; Health, Education & Welfare; Veterans Affairs; and Homeland Security — 432 cabinet members in all.

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For the last 7-8 years, many on the left have said, repeatedly, that we must understand our adversaries. We shouldn’t rush to judgement and declare that we are “right”, and that they are “wrong”. There is no “evil”, just misunderstanding between peoples and of ideas.

So, I’m very confused by the concern over Iran. Clearly, Iranian President Ahmedinejad has been listening to the global discussion on “man-made” global warming and has realized that the most important thing that he can do is to swiftly move his economy forward with “green jobs” — those that don’t increase the “carbon footprint” of the average Iranian citizen. So building a nuclear-based economy is a very rational strategy from a very rational leader. (We all know that his comments about “Blowing Israel off the face of the earth” and his holocaust denying are all just political speak for his internal audience. He doesn’t really mean these things, does he?). Also despite the fact that the leading “climate change” researchers have been cooking the books on the science (Check here and here for a Financial Times editorial and a Sunday London Times piece on the destruction of data), we all know that the science is “settled”.

If the left truly believed the nonsense that they spouted during the Bush years regarding our enemies, and if they really believed that global warming is akin to armegeddon, they should be making speeches endorsing the Iranians move toward a greener future. They should just try to be more… understanding.

(NB: This piece was written with my tongue in my cheek)

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