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Archive for January, 2012

There will definitely be a democratic primary for county executive this year.  Bill Shahan, a county land use employee, announced on Saturday.   Here is the video from the announcement:

Mr. Shahan also answered some questions afterwards and was sure to point out that now is the time to hire police and paramedics, not your friends at six figure salaries.   Sounds like he’s ready to take on Paul Clark:

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Some number of years ago (I was still a State Senator), Delaware passed a law (2007’s SB 29) broadening the use of civil penalties against employers of individuals involved in child sex crimes in Delaware. The State of Delaware was knowingly and purposely left out of that bill by the prime sponsor and others (notably budget writers). As a matter of fact, the prime sponsor looked me in the eye and said that there was never any intention to have the State included in the bill. These individuals were more interested in protecting the State’s budget and going after the Catholic Church than ensuring that all children are entitled to the same protection.

It was wrong at the time and remains wrong today. The headline for this post states exactly why it was and is wrong. Rep. Lavelle has been pushing to remove the State’s exemption since before the passage of the original bill. He continues this fight.

 

State Rep. Greg Lavelle Asks for Unified

Effort to Decrease Teacher Sex Crimes

– Legislator Asks to Meet with A.G. Biden to Discuss Strategies –

For Immediate Release:  January 27, 2012

For More Information, Contact:  Joe Fulgham, 302-744-4184

Citing a continuing series of sex crimes committed by Delaware educators, State Rep. Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) is calling for a bipartisan effort to curtail such crimes and punish perpetrators.

In the latest incident, a 38-year-old Sussex Tech teacher was arrested this week on charges he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student.

“There have been more than a dozen Delaware teachers charged in connection with alleged instances of sexual misconduct over the last five years,” Rep. Lavelle said.  “As both a parent and a public servant, I find this disturbing on many levels.”

Rep. Lavelle said he is requesting a meeting with State Attorney General Beau Biden to ask for his input on crafting a strategy to reduce crimes of this type.  “A.G. Biden is known for his efforts to protect children from sexual crimes and I’d welcome his insights on this issue.”

Lavelle, who is also House Minority Leader, said he has no trouble reaching across the aisle to find a solution to this problem.  “There is nothing partisan about this.  In my experience, members of both parties are of one mind when it comes to crimes against children.”

In addition to reaching out to the attorney general, Rep. Lavelle said he’d also like to partner with his General Assembly colleagues from both parties to move forward quickly on this.  “I also intend to invite the Delaware State Education Association into this discussion,” he said.  “When a teacher commits a sex crime against student it not only breaks a public trust, it erodes the collective reputations of all educators.  The DSEA has a doubly-vested interest in this issue, not only to protect the children in their members’ charge, but to also safeguard the integrity of their profession.”

Rep. Lavelle said that while increasing penalties is one potential outcome of the process, he is open to other possibilities.

“I do think we need to look at more severe punishment, but that only deals with cases after a crime has occurred and the tragedy has unfolded,” Rep. Lavelle said.  “I think there may be other things we can do to prevent these crimes from occurring in the first place.  That’s one of the reasons I am encouraging full participation in this process.”

Rep. Lavelle said it is his hope that after meeting with the attorney general, and discussing the matter with his colleagues, legislation can be sent to the governor prior to the end of the current session on June 30th.

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The News Journal has picked up on County Executive Paul Clark’s 2011 campaign finance report (click here to read it on the Dept of Elections website).   Many contributions from developers, their attorneys and engineering firms.   Also some big contributions from his county staff.    Below is a copy of today’s article:

Clark’s campaign chest boosted by developers, top NCCo staff

Written by ADAM TAYLOR
The News Journal

Much of the money New Castle County Executive Paul Clark has raised for his election run this year came from the real estate development community, as well as top members of his administration.

Clark raised $56,119 in 2011, according to a campaign finance report filed this month with the state Department of Elections.

The report shows that the Clark4NCC campaign has nearly $100,000. In addition to the money raised, the campaign had $28,393 in the bank when 2011 began. Clark loaned the campaign $31,200 as well.

Clark, a Democrat, is seeking election as county executive for the first time. He was automatically elevated to the position from County Council president in November 2010, when then-County Executive Chris Coons became a U.S. senator.

Contributions included $550 from John Tracey, the attorney for Stoltz Real Estate Partners. Stoltz got county approvals for major redevelopment plans at Barley Mill Plaza and Greenville Center last year. Apex Engineering, which worked on the Stoltz project as well, gave $600.

Other developers in the county who contributed include Jay Sonecha and Louis Capano III, who gave $600 each; and Leon Weiner & Associates, which gave $200.

John Flaherty, president of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government, said the campaign finance report could spell political trouble for Clark.

“I think the challenge he is going to face is getting people to believe that these people are donating for causes other than their own special interests,” Flaherty said.

Clark said it’s common for developers to contribute to candidates for county executive and for other offices as well.

“We have a system that dictates the amount of money you can give,” Clark said. “It’s a matter of people having a right to donate.”

Mill Creek resident Christine Whitehead doesn’t think the system is fair.

“The Legislature should have made campaign contributions to elected officials in county government by applicants and their attorneys with business before its agencies illegal years ago,” Whitehead said.

Land Use has been a tricky matter for Clark because his wife, Pam Scott, was a land-use attorney for the Saul Ewing Firm when he took office. The county Ethics Commission ruled last year Scott had to stop practicing land-use law in New Castle County for Clark to avoid conflicts, so she resigned March 31.

One of Scott’s clients was Stoltz Real Estate Partners.

In October, Clark allowed the redevelopment and rezoning plan for Barley Mill Plaza to become law without his signature. Signing it, a top Clark aide said at the time, would have created the appearance of a conflict of interest because Scott once represented Stoltz, the developer at Barley Mill.

In July, however, Saul Ewing’s political action committee gave Clark’s campaign a $600 contribution, the maximum allowed.

Clark said he doesn’t see a problem.

“It’s been a policy to take any legal contribution,” Clark said. “I believe when you don’t allow people to donate, they’re not able to exercise their free rights.”

Flaherty disagrees, saying, “I think he has an obligation to dispel the appearance that conflicts exist from when his wife worked for Saul Ewing.”

Other companies and individuals that gave maximum $600 donations include Delaware Valley Development Co., EDIS construction, the Delaware Contractors Association’s political action committee; and McBride & Ziegler Inc.

Attorneys who represent developers donated as well. Larry Tarabicos gave $600; Drinker Biddle & Reath gave $600; Kim Hoffman gave $300; Abbott Law Firm gave $200; and Wendie Stabler gave $150. Michele Tucker, wife of Drinker Biddle attorney Shawn Tucker, gave $600.

Top members of Clark’s administration, and some of their spouses, gave the following amounts:

Chief Human Resources Officer Valencia Beatty, Deputy County Attorney Wendy Danner, her husband, Chad Danner, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Vince Meconi and his wife, Sharon Meconi, gave $600 each; Chief of Staff Dennis Phifer gave $472; Special Services General Manager Wayne Merritt and Redevelopment Director Karl Kahlbacher gave $300 each; County Attorney Gregg Wilson, Public Safety Director Scott McLaren and Administrative Services General Manager Yvonne Gordon gave $250 each; and Phifer’s wife, Lynne, Clark’s scheduler, gave $172.

State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, whose son Marcus is the county’s Community Services General Manager, gave $300.

Clark said he expects to raise at least another $100,000 before the Democratic primary in September. County Land Use employee Bill Shahan, a Democrat, announced his candidacy Saturday.

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On January 18, 2012, NASA released a Global Surface Temperature Analysis. It is authored by Jim Hansen, who has been one of the lead mad-made global warming proponents. The paper is full of charts and graphs and statistical analysis, but the conclusion can be summarized by the following quote:

Thus, although the current global warming graphs (Figs. 2, 3 and the upper part of Fig. 7) are suggestive of a slowdown in global warming, this apparent slowdown may largely disappear as a few more years of data are added. In particular we need to see how high global temperature rises in response to the next El Niño, and we also need to consider the effect of the 10-12 year cycle of solar irradiance. This raises the question of when the next El Niño will occur and the status of the solar cycle.

Remember, this document is written by someone whose entire livelihood and reputation is tied to man-made global warming being true. So, let me restate the pro-global warming position as described in this paragraph… Global Warming has stopped (aka “apparently slowed down”), but we need to wait a few more years in hopes that it will have started again (aka don’t cut my budget, warming will come back, I hope!)

What is really causing the largest component of the slight warming seen over the last 60 years? How about the last comment: “status of the solar cycle”? According to multiple sources, including NASA, analysis of the Sun’s interior, visible surface and corona imply that the Sun’s next solar cycle will be significantly reduced, or may not even appear at all. From the Met Office of the British Government October 2011 research report:

The study, carried out with  Imperial College London and the University of Oxford, shows that low UV output from the sun can contribute to cold winters over parts of the northern hemisphere, such as recently seen in the UK. Years of higher UV have the opposite effect.

Let me restate this paragraph, too…

Sun is dim, earth is cold

Sun is bright, earth is hot

You might have experienced this yourself. Go to Florida in August, it is hot. Go to Alaska in February, it is cold. Thank goodness the British taxpayer paid for this research and not me. What would we do without scientists…

Furthermore, according to the Met, there is a 92% chance that we could be entering a period as cold as the ‘Dalton Minimum’ of 1790 to 1830. During this period, temperatures in Europe fell 2 degrees celsius.

So, back to Global Warmist, Jim Hansen and his paper… Global warming stopped 15 years ago, and he is hoping that the Sun will heat things up again before he looks like a fool.

I have long held the position that carbon dioxide has an impact on climate. However, I have long disagreed with the Global Warmists that CO2 is a major force — I have argued that it is the Sun — which makes a heck of a lot of logical sense. Unfortunately, we have allowed these zealots to drive wacky public policy choices — like those here in Delaware. We have spent tens of millions of dollars on a fairy tale pulling productive money out of the economy to fund venture capital backed entities like Fiskar Automotive and Bloom Energy with taxpayer money. Crony capitalism at its worse.

You’d think that after 15 years, our policy makers would get it. But, they don’t.

To invert the argument, what if I’m wrong and warming is all about carbon? China is firing up about 1 coal fired power plant every week as it tries to pull 600 million people out of abject poverty (earnings of less than $2 a day). They don’t care about warming, they care about eating. India is in a similar place. Brazil, Nigeria & Indonesia are all in similar straights. Their impact will be much larger than the 900,000 residents of Delaware. So, our public policy choices are foolish in that we are making our citizens suffer high unemployment and a stagnant standard of living for absolutely no impact.

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What did you know and when did you know it?

Even a few in congress have questions about the administration’s involvement.

They are probably against apple pie, mom, baseball and the Marine Corps as well, Bill.

GM CEO, NHTSA Administrator Testify to Congress on Chevrolet Volt Safety – Rumor Central.

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More information about a previously reported boondoggle.

Dave Stevenson writes this:

It is astonishing you are not allowed to know what the Dover Sun Park is costing you. The total added cost of the Sun Park compared to using conventional power over the twenty year contract will be $93 million or almost $5 million a year! The total generation cost for power will average about three and a half times the cost of conventional power or thirty six and a half cents a kilowatt-hour. But, you say, won’t the savings in greenhouse gas generation be worth it? Using the current value of carbon dioxide emission permits in the regional cap and trade market the Dover Sun Park carbon offsets are worth less than $25 thousand a year. Calpine switched from coal to natural gas at the Edge Moor electric generating plant saving money and a years’ worth of sun park carbon emissions every five days.

Below is a link to a post I did about the Dover Sun Park in 2009 and the CRI article.

Caesar Rodney Institute.

So Much for Transparency.

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Good news!  The NHTSA has looked into it and found that there is no defect as regards the battery of the Volt catching fire and that the repairs that GM has instituted will resolve the problem; the one that does not exist.

“The agency’s investigation has concluded that no discernible defect trend exists and that the vehicle modifications recently developed by General Motors reduce the potential for battery intrusion resulting from side impacts,” NHTSA said in a statement.

I guess this is the type of gibberish that one might expects when the regulator of an industry is a 25% shareholder.

 

Safety Group Clears Chevrolet Volt – WSJ.com.

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