Archive for January, 2010

Well, i just finished my first week as the Executive Vice President of the Caesar Rodney Institute.  It was a week of immersed orientation, multiple meetings and information overload.  It was a week dominated by change.  There was a change of routine, a change of career, and a change of organizational structure.  All in all, it was one intense week…and I had the time of my life.  Regardless of the confidence one has in their decisions, there is a lingering sense of apprehension when that decision is life altering.  I am happy to say that those concerns are gone.  There is nothing else I would rather be doing.

So, what to expect?  We have a great team here at the Institute.  Over the course of the next few weeks, CRI will build on our excellent foundation of promoting a competitive free market economy, where entrepreneurial initiative is high and taxes are low.  We will continue to advance a society where the power of the government is restricted, not the individual.  “Knowledge – Freedom – Prosperity”  These are the three words that best define the Caesar Rodney Institute.  And these three words are not in some random pattern.  It is knowledge and awareness that breeds the desire for freedom; and freedom alone is the fuel of prosperity.

It promises to be an exciting year, and we will be there every step of the way.  Thank you all for the well wishes and encouragements.  Now it is time to get to work…

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A bipartisan group of state representatives has sponsored House Resolution #32 supporting the Army Corps of Engineers Channel Deepening Project. It’s primary sponsor is Rep. J. Johnson. Representatives Brady, Keeley, D. Short and D.P. Williams are additional sponsors. It is co-sponsored by Representatives BriggsKing, Carey, Hocker, Lee and Longhurst.

WHEREAS, the Port of Wilmington is a valuable economic engine for the State of Delaware’s interstate and international commerce, annually serving more than 400 vessels with an import/export tonnage exceeding 4 million tons; and

WHEREAS, the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project (the “Project”) is a proposed United States Army Corps of Engineers project to increase the depth of (by dredging) the Delaware River’s main shipping channel from 40 to 45 feet; and

WHEREAS, in the shipping industry, the trend is to build larger ships to accommodate more cargo, and larger ships require more “draft” or deeper water to safely navigate; and

WHEREAS, deepening the Delaware River’s main channel would allow larger vessels to safely navigate and dock at ports along the River, including the Port of Wilmington; and

WHEREAS, the Port of Wilmington is geographically “blessed” by virtue of its location between larger markets and proximity to rail and highway transportation facilities; and

WHEREAS, a deeper channel would encourage existing shippers to continue using the Port of Wilmington and also permit the Port of Wilmington to compete for expanded commercial shipments, resulting in additional jobs in and around the Port; and

WHEREAS, it has been estimated that the Project could inject over $500 million annually into the local and regional economy; and

WHEREAS, it has been estimated that the Project would create and support a total of 6,000 direct and indirect jobs in the State, with 44% of those employed residing in New Castle County and 36% residing in the City of Wilmington; and

WHEREAS, it has been estimated that the Project would lead to more than $212 million in total revenues for Delaware businesses and more than $22 million in annual State and local taxes; and

WHEREAS, the United States Army Corps of Engineers has designed the Project to be environmentally sensitive by using advanced technology to monitor and protect Delaware’s wildlife and restricting dredging activities at times when particular wildlife species mate and spawn; and

WHEREAS, the State of Delaware would also reap the benefits of beach replenishment and creation of new wetlands from the Project; and

WHEREAS, the House of Representatives recognizes economic benefits of the Project and considers the proposed dredging of the Delaware River’s main shipping channel to be essential to maintaining and expanding the Port of Wilmington’s commercial business.


BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Representatives of the 145th General Assembly of the State of Delaware hereby expresses its support for the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project and encourages the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to support this important economic development project.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that upon passage a suitably prepared and duly authenticated copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

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Joseph Birowski, of Hartley, is the most recent inmate to die in Delaware’s prison system.

Birowsky, 53, was serving a 20 year sentence at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC) for Continuous Sexual Abuse and Unlawful Sexual Intercourse.

According to a Department of Correction press release, Birowsky died in the JTVCC infirmary Sunday night at 9:16 p.m. “following a lengthy illness.” The release also stated “no foul play is suspected.”

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Addition will expand the organization’s ability to communicate with and educate Delawareans about critical policy decisions impacting the state, its residents and its business community.

DOVER – In its continued effort to promote transparency, good government and fiscal responsibility in Delaware, the Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI) today announced that Millsboro small businessman, Shaun Fink, has joined the organization as its Executive Vice President.

In 2009, CRI launched both DelawareSpends.com and SunlightOnSchools.org, two open government tools that have become the most comprehensive resource for the public to see how the government is spending taxpayer dollars.

With the addition of Fink, CRI will build on the momentum from 2009 to brandish a louder, broader voice in defense of Delaware’s taxpayers.

Commenting on CRI’s growth, Barrett Kidner, Chairman and CEO stated, “Shaun’s experience in the private sector, coupled with his time in the trenches as a community leader has given him the tools and know-how to expand the organization’s capabilities in communicating with citizens, the media and elected officials alike.”

Fink comes to CRI from the construction industry where he served as part-owner and superintendent of a firm since 2002. He has also worked in both the industrial and financial sectors, contributing to over a decade of leadership and management experience. Community involvement is very important to Shaun, and he is active in many ways ranging from Little League, to helping those in need, to membership in civic organizations.

“CRI is committed to helping ensure the economic viability of the state of Delaware. With an estimated $300 million budget shortfall, now is the time to increase the visibility of the Caesar Rodney Institute. Now is the time to advance the message of a competitive, free-market economy with limited government interference and low taxes. What has allowed us to live up to our name as the ‘First State’ is the initiative and hard work of our citizens. That is what makes us great,” Fink said.

“As much as I am worried about the current state of our state, I am excited about the prospect of offering solutions to Delawareans. Through policy research, investigative reports, government relations and public outreach, we can and will effectively show our fellow citizens that there is a better way than the status quo.” he continued.

Fink resides in Millsboro with his wife and four children.

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The Attorney General’s Office lost another one. Malik S. Brown was acquitted of murder yesterday by a Wilmington jury. He had been charged with the 2008 killing of Adrian Malone.

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From the Governor’s office:

Markell Names Widener University Law School Dean Linda L. Ammons to Lead Independent Review of Delaware’s Statutory and Administrative Procedures Governing Child Abuse and Exploitation

Dover, DE – Governor Jack Markell announced today that he has named Widener University School of Law Associate Provost and Dean Linda L. Ammons, Esquire to lead an independent review into the State’s statutory and administrative procedures governing child abuse and exploitation, in the wake of the Lewes pediatrician being accused of sexually assaulting children in his care.

Markell was joined by Senator Brian Bushweller, Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and Representative Larry Mitchell, Chair of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee to call for the review to examine where critical improvements are necessary.

“The bottom line is that the system failed these children.  I am asking Dean Ammons to take an independent look at why this systemic failure occurred. I am asking that she make recommendations that will foster a child protection community of collaboration and accountability, so that we can make the necessary improvements to protect our children from predators,” Markell said. “This situation demands tough questions and real answers. Together, we intend to get them.”

Dean Ammons is expected to consult with the Attorney General, recognized experts in criminal justice, sexual assault and child protection to assist her in her review, as well as look at best practices in formulating her recommendations.

Dean Ammons is the seventh dean of Widener Law and the first woman and first African-American person to lead the state’s only law school. An accomplished lawyer, professor and administrator, she came to Widener in July 2006 from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was associate dean and professor of law. Her primary area of expertise is administrative law, which involves the operation of government and regulatory agencies.

Dean Ammons has a wealth of administrative and state-agency experience. She served as executive assistant to former Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste from 1988 to 1991, a job in which she oversaw criminal justice policy for the governor and served as his point person on state-prison issues. She served on the Ohio Supreme Court Futures Commission, which worked to improve the court system, and co-chaired for two years the American Bar Association National Institute on Defending Battered Women in Criminal Cases.

“I have agreed to undertake this review at Gov. Markell’s request because it presents an opportunity to help improve a system that cannot leave its children – its most vulnerable citizens – without adequate protections,” Dean Ammons said. “This call to public service is in keeping with our core values at Widener, where students are encouraged to use their educations and talents in ways that contribute to the communities we serve, in order to make them better places. I appreciate the confidence Gov. Markell has shown by asking me to lead this review and I welcome the chance to help make the First State safer, particularly for children.”

Dean Ammons will undertake a comprehensive review of the State’s policies and procedures and make recommendations to improve the administrative handling of child abuse and sexual exploitation cases focused on reducing child trauma, enhancing the effectiveness of administrative action, and reforming state laws and regulations to meet these objectives.

Markell made clear that Dean Ammons’ review must not and will not jeopardize the current prosecution in the Lewes pediatrician case or the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation of whether anyone violated the current reporting requirements under the existing statutory scheme.

“Not only must we ensure a successful prosecution in this case, we must have, and Dean Ammons will help provide, real answers to how and why the system failed and a roadmap to protect our children going forward,” Markell said. “While the Attorney General will prosecute the laws that were broken, this independent review will help decide whether we have the right laws, processes and procedures in place for the handling of future child abuse and sexual exploitation cases.”

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden supports the State’s independent review.

“I support the Governor’s independent review.  In the meantime, my office will continue to pursue Dr. Bradley to the fullest extent of the law and get to the bottom of who may have violated Delaware’s current reporting requirements and take whatever action is necessary.  There must be accountability.”  Biden said.

Issues to be addressed in the independent review include but are not limited to:

  1. Professional reporting requirements for suspected incidents of misconduct and the enforcement thereof;
  2. Professional licensing requirements, procedures and enforcement, including comprehensive background checks and procedures for on-going review;
  3. Medical standards and protocols around proper pediatric care and the publication thereof to ensure that doctors, medical staff and parents have clear guidance;
  4. The sufficiency of outreach efforts regarding reporting requirements, so that those with legal obligations to report questionable behavior do so;
  5. Proper communication and coordination between law enforcement agencies, professional regulators and the medical community; and
  6. Ensuring that adequate services are provided for the protection and treatment of children suspected of being sexually abused in order to protect them from further harm.

At the conclusion of the independent review, Dean Ammons will issue a final report to the Governor’s Office, the Senate Public Safety Committee and the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

According to Senator Bushweller, “Protecting children, and indeed all patients, needs to be our first priority and I support the Governor’s decision to review this matter.  We need a broad-based review of all facets of this horrendous situation. I look forward to considering the results and recommendations of Dean Ammons’ independent review.”

Representative Mitchell stated, “It is imperative that we take a top-down and independent look at where the system failed these children, and make the necessary improvements to ensure that something like this never happens again.  Dean Ammons is an accomplished individual who is well-suited to undertake such an important review.”

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From the Mayor’s office:

News Release

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mayor Baker Says Firefighters Union is Making Unprofessional, Irresponsible and False Claims About Fire Safety in Wilmington

Mayor Demands that IAFF Local 1590 Stop Disseminating Information That the Union Knows to be Untrue and Misleading

Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker today demanded that the leadership of the union representing Wilmington’s firefighters stop telling citizens that Wilmington’s highly respected fire fighting system, a hallmark of the Wilmington Fire Department for generations, has been compromised and that citizens are in danger.

The Mayor said he has rarely been as angry as he was this past weekend when he read a false and misleading letter from IAFF Local 1590 President Kevin O. Turner to Wilmington Fire Chief Willie Patrick containing numerous inaccuracies about the state of readiness of the Fire Department to protect lives and property. The Mayor said the union is using scare tactics to misinform citizens through flyers and appearances at community meetings alleging that the Wilmington Fire Department can no longer carry out its mission of protecting lives and saving property.

IAFF Local 1590 claims in a letter to Chief Patrick that insufficient fire apparatus is being made available to adequately suppress fires and that Chief Patrick and Deputy Chief Joseph Kalinowski have denied requests to bring additional units to the scenes of fires.

Chief Patrick said these claims are totally false and the union leadership knows they are not only false, but outrageous. The Chief, a 29 year veteran of the Department, said he would never do anything to compromise fire safety for citizens or for firefighters. Chief Patrick said he has never denied and would never deny a request from a Battalion Chief or incident commander that additional equipment or personnel be called to the scene of a fire.

Chief Patrick said he recently had a courteous and professional discussion with union President Turner about the union’s concerns with regard to the “rolling bypass” that was instituted on July 1. “The union doesn’t like it because it helps us control overtime costs without compromising safety,” said the Chief, “It is very unprofessional for the union leadership to make false claims when they know the information is untrue and even more frustrating when the union starts misinforming and frightening citizens,” said the Chief.

Chief Patrick said many fire companies around the United States have successfully instituted a rolling bypass process to help control costs while not compromising the safety of citizens or firefighters. A rolling bypass means that one piece of equipment per shift is deactivated as are the four firefighters needed to operate that equipment. Mayor Baker and Chief of Staff William S. Montgomery said today that the Chief and his staff have complete authority to lift the rolling bypass whenever they choose to address changing conditions as they did in late December during a major snowstorm.

Mayor Baker expressed his confidence today in Chief Patrick and his continuing disappointment with the union leadership’s efforts to misinform the public.

“This union leadership has once again demonstrated its utter disregard for citizens, its disrespect for Chief Patrick and for the mission of the Wilmington Fire Department,” said Mayor Baker. “This is the same union leadership that six months ago, during one of the worse economic periods facing our City, chose to sacrifice seven of its own members to an unnecessary layoff rather than forego a pay increase that every other employee of City government had to endure,” said the Mayor. “The leaders of Local 1590 have now compounded their embarrassing and irresponsible maneuver that resulted in the layoff of firefighters by announcing a campaign to frighten citizens when the union knows that its claims are 100% false.”

Mayor Baker and Chief Patrick reassured citizens today that the safety of citizens and of firefighters is their ultimate goal and responsibility. They said that if equipment or personnel are needed in response to a fire it will be assigned to the scene of a fire without question.

The Mayor and Chief again asked the union to think about the negative consequences of their public misinformation campaign and to cease this type of action which they said is a disservice to the public and to the proud tradition of the Wilmington Fire Department.

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