Newark Anti-Gun Vote this Monday!

Campaign for Liberty

On November 9, 2015, the city of Newark began the process of putting its residents in harm’s way. Without your help, they will complete that process this Monday, January 11.

The Newark City Council unanimously approved the first reading of Bill 15-32 last November, which would enact the state’s “Armitage Gun Ban,” named after the specific lobbyist who rammed it through the state legislature . . .

. . . restricting every law abiding citizen’s right to defend themselves in municipal buildings.

They took the dangerous first step toward creating another “Gun Free Zone,” which we hear about so much due to the crimes that so often occur in them.

And this Monday, January 11, in the Municipal Council chamber at 220 South Main Street, the council will have their second and final vote on this irresponsible, anti-self-defense policy.

Call these council members and urge them to VOTE NO on Armitage Gun Ban Bill 15-32:

Mayor Polly Sierer: 302-690-1741
Mark Morehead: 302-521-9525
Todd Ruckle: 302-893-1601
Robert Gifford: 302-803-0451
Margrit Hadden: 302-983-9087
Luke Chapman: 302-293-7639
Stu Markham: 302-456-1755

And please take a minute to sign our Armitage Gun Ban petition, letting them know we will not tolerate them turning our residents and town employees into helpless victims.

We read in the newspaper time and again how recent massacres in schools, movie theaters, and the like are a major problem. Of course, they highlight the “need for further gun restrictions.”

What those articles fail to connect is that all of the examples they cite are massacres occurring in so-called “Gun Free” zones.

They SHOULD be called “Criminal Protection Zones”!

Once you realize these criminals may be evil – not stupid – the connection is obvious.

They target Gun Free Zones because they know it’s where they will have the most impact – places where most people are rendered defenseless by irresponsible, anti-gun policies.

It is entirely possible that some of Newark’s elected officials were not able to make that connection prior to the meeting.

However, several people spoke at the meetings informing them of these facts and letting them know this bill could put people in harm’s way.

And yet they passed the first reading anyway. . . unanimously.

It is tough for me to conclude anything other than these elected officials actually want to make their residents vulnerable.

With all of the facts before them, I do not know what other conclusion to come to.

Last April, they hired Richard Armitage, a seasoned NRA lobbyist from Maryland, to lobby Delaware state politicians on behalf of the city of Newark and help spread the Mayor’s irrational, anti-gun agenda statewide.

And even though one Newark Council member questioned whether there would be a conflict of interest, lobbyist Armitage still accepted the position and the city council voted to hire him.

Soon after, he offered proposed legislation to them for an “optional” city municipal building ban, even admitting to the council that NRA “helped write the bill.

Armitage strategized in meetings of the Delaware League of Local Governments, sought out sponsors to ram his legislation through the State House and Senate, and saw it through in less than 2 weeks time.

The people of the state of Delaware had no time to hear about it, read it, or react – by design.

Armitage Gun Ban Bill 15-32 will come up for its second and FINAL reading on Monday, January 11.

We must make it perfectly clear that this bill must not go through.

Newark Council Meeting
Monday, January 11, from 7-9 p.m.
220 South Main Street
Newark, DE 19711


We must not allow the bill to become law by passing the second reading.

Please call these council members and urge them to VOTE NO on Armitage Gun Ban Bill 15-32:

Mayor Polly Sierer: 302-690-1741
Mark Morehead: 302-521-9525
Todd Ruckle: 302-893-1601
Robert Gifford: 302-803-0451
Margrit Hadden: 302-983-9087
Luke Chapman: 302-293-7639
Stu Markham: 302-456-1755

Tell them their vote will be a clear statement on whether or not they understand how pro-Second Amendment policies keep people safe.

We will report the results of their vote next week.

In Liberty,

Jeff Lawrence
New Castle County Coordinator
Delaware Campaign for Liberty

P.S. On November 9, 2015, Newark’s Council began the process to turn city buildings into gun free zones. The second and FINAL reading will be this Monday, January 11, at 7 p.m.

The last thing we need is another gun free zone, such as the ones we hear about in the news where all of the mass shootings are occurring.

Call the council members above. Urge them to VOTE NO on Bill 15-32!

And sign the Armitage Gun Ban petition to send a clear message that “Gun Free,” Criminal Protection Zones for criminals is irresponsible city policy.

P.P.S. Thank you for your continued support of liberty. To help us defray our costs and continue our efforts, please consider making a donation to Campaign for Liberty by clicking here.

Stop the Armitage Gun Bans

Campaign for Liberty

The powerful anti-gun lobby is close to grabbing their next Delaware victory.

This time, they’re in the city of Newark. Will your town be next?

You may not be familiar with the behind-the-scenes effort that has been taking place to restrict your gun rights and create more “gun-free zones,” but . . .

. . . thanks to the efforts of a longtime NRA lobbyist from Maryland, Richard Armitage, more gun rights are being removed in municipal and county buildings all across the state.

The anti-gun city council in Lewes was the first to act in July before the Governor even signed the Armitage Bans into law, then Bethany Beach, Delaware City, Dover, Elsmere, Newport, and Townsend passed their “Armitage Gun Bans.”

Now, officials in Delmar, Middletown and Wilmington are preparing to strip away 2nd Amendment rights.

The final vote in Newark is scheduled for Monday, January 11th. If this next anti-gun ordinance is passed, citizens will no longer have the right to openly carry and defend themselves in Newark’s municipal buildings.

And that’s how they get your gun rights, chipping away one small piece at a time, one local council at a time.

It also strengthens every municipal building’s profile as a so-called “gun free zone,” where all recent mass shooting tragedies have been taking place!

Honestly, I’m outraged by this compromised erosion of our liberty and safety. I hope you’re fired up, too.

Please sign our “Stop the Armitage Gun Bans” petition today to show your support for the Second Amendment and citizen self-defense.

The City Administration in Newark, and particularly Mayor Polly Sierer, has long been hostile to citizens having any ability to defend themselves with anything from firearms to tasers.

In April, they hired a seasoned NRA lobbyist from Maryland, Richard Armitage, to also lobby Delaware state politicians on behalf of the City of Newark and help spread their radical agendas statewide.

And even though one Newark council member questioned whether there would be a conflict of interest, lobbyist Armitage still accepted the position and the city council voted to hire him.

Soon after, he offered proposed legislation to them for an “optional” city municipal building ban, even admitting to council that the NRA “helped write the bill.” He then sought out sponsors to ram his legislation through the state House and Senate.

To get around the state preemption law, which forbids lower governments from enacting gun restrictions on their own, Armitage made the gun bans “optional,” causing gun grabbing officials in the Delaware League of Local Governments to salivate over the opportunity to take away more firearms freedom.

House Bill 192 was introduced on June 16th by State Senators Patricia Blevins and Representative John Mitchell, both anti-gunners from the City of Elsmere.

They even replicated the language into House Bill 201 to remove similar gun rights in county buildings.

Both Armitage bills passed in the chambers of the legislature in Dover by July 1st. Governor Markell then signed the Armitage Gun Bans into law on August 17th.

In other words, lobbyist Armitage was successful in ramming two anti-gun bills through the legislature in less than 2 weeks . . .

. . . leaving no time for citizens to learn or voice opinion about the 2nd Amendment infringements.

Since then, multiple anti-gun city councils, such as Elsmere, Seaford and Lewes, have already jumped at the chance to take away your constitutional rights of self-defense.

I hope you agree that it’s absolutely outrageous for an NRA lobbyist from Maryland to be peddling anti-2nd Amendment laws as a dual agent for gun grabbing city councils in Delaware.

That’s why I also hope you will sign our “Stop the Armitage Gun Bans” petition today.

If you live in Newark, your council’s vote is on January 11th.

If you do not live in Newark, call your city and county council members right away and voice your opposition to the Armitage Gun Bans.

In Liberty,

Eric Boye
Delaware State Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. The City of Newark’s administration has hired a longtime NRA lobbyist from Maryland to operate as a dual agent and push their radical anti-gun agenda across the state.

Lewes, Seaford and Elsmere have already banned open carry for self-defense in their buildings, raising their profiles as extremely dangerous “gun free zones.”

The vote in Newark is January 11th. Will your town be next?

Please sign our “Stop the Armitage Gun Bans” petition today and call your local government officials to voice your opposition on this latest erosion of your 2nd Amendment rights.

P.P.S. Thank you for your continued support of liberty. To help us defray our costs and continue our efforts, please consider making a donation to Campaign for Liberty by clicking here.

What are these Newark candidates hiding?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust a candidate for public office who won’t give straight answers to simple questions. 


For instance: “Will you oppose all tax, rate and fee increases?” 


Simply said, will you vote against any attempt to raise taxes? 


And: “Do you feel that repairing our storm water drainage system should be a higher priority?” 


Simply said, do you support fixing our storm water drainage system before starting new projects? 


I have some good news, though. 


In Newark Council District 1, candidate Mark Morehead stood by his convictions and responded to our survey. 


But I also have some bad news…


The other FIVE candidates in Newark have chosen to ignore the survey we sent them.

And this is AFTER all five of them claimed transparency was very important during the recent candidate forum!

While there is still time, will you contact the following candidates and ask them to return the Newark Campaign for Liberty survey?

District 1: Joseph Charma [email protected]
District 2: Todd Ruckle 302-893-1601
District 2: Glenn Schmalhofer [email protected]
District 4: Margrit Hadden 302-983-9087
District 4: Ronald Walker [email protected]

Tell them it is their responsibility to answer straightforward questions about the issues of the day.

It is vital we get every candidate for the Newark City Council on record on these important liberty issues – now.

This is the time when politicians are really paying attention to what their constituents want.  And now is the time to begin holding them accountable.  


It isn’t the only time.  This is only the first step.  But it is an important first step. 


Keeping a watchful eye on our elected officials is vital to holding them accountable. 


But their job as candidates is to let us know where they stand on important issues. 


So please contact these candidates. Demand they complete and return the Newark Campaign for Liberty survey.

District 1: Joseph Charma [email protected]
District 2: Todd Ruckle 302-893-1601
District 2: Glenn Schmalhofer [email protected]
District 4: Margrit Hadden 302-983-9087
District 4: Ronald Walker [email protected]

You deserve straight answers to important liberty questions. 


You can view current survey results by clicking here.

In Liberty,

Jeff Lawrence
Newark Local Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. If you’re upset that one or more of the candidates in your district haven’t turned in their liberty survey, or if you want to keep track of how the winner votes in Dover next year. . .

. . .CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US!

P.P.S. Campaign for Liberty does not support, oppose, or endorse candidates for office.  The goal of the Campaign for Liberty survey is only for keeping candidates true to their word should they be elected.  It should not be construed as an endorsement of any candidate.


You are encouraged to research each of your candidates to make an informed decision on their positions.

Electric Bill Refunds; Stroller Bans; Bill Transparency

Here is a recap of the Newark City Council meeting from last Monday, March 23, 2015.

The good news is, two small restaurants were granted the right to sell alcohol. Wood Fired Pizza and Mediterranean Grill will surely enjoy this liberty.

The pity is the restaurant owners had to sit through three hours of nonsense at the meeting to get to their agenda item.

Each year, Newark’s Council examines the past years electric rates. If the rates are found to have been too high, some of the excess money is returned to the residents.

This year, it was determined that roughly $1 Million in excess money was collected.

It has been standard practice to keep a $1.5 Million reserve to withstand a temporary electric rate spike.

So, with a $1.1 million existing reserve, the City should have returned $600,000 and properly met their $1.5 Million reserve goal.

However, that simple process was bypassed by a 5 to 2 vote.

Luke Chapman, Marge Hadden, Polly Sierer, Stu Markham, and Todd Ruckle decided to fuel the City Administration’s greed and keep ALL of the money.

We just went through a similar scenario with the “Ruckle Parking Meters,” where residents are being robbed of money that goes unused.

When a credit card is swiped, it defaults to the maximum amount of time, regardless of how long a customer intends to stay.

And to this day, despite your phone calls and public pressure on Todd Ruckle, that decision has still not been reversed!

The City of Newark even provided a report on the first few months of parking revenue since the Ruckle ‘smart’ parking meters were installed.

The report effectively demonstrated that the City is collecting much more money with these meters, due to ripping off its customers.

Council has the ability to make the meters work for the residents by changing HOW they work. Yet no one has chosen to step forward and set this straight.

Finally, a bill was up for 1st reading last Monday to modify the policies for City parks.

Some people have been bringing temporary ramps to the skate parks. The City, fearful of a lawsuit, wants to end this practice.

However, the bill was written so poorly that, as passed, people would not be allowed to bring soccer goals, tennis rackets . . .

. . . or even strollers into the parks!

How can politicians mess up this badly?

Several residents highlighted this issue, and recommended the bill be removed, and re-written better.

A motion was made to remove this item, but the motion was defeated 5-2.

Guess who voted to keep this bad legislation as it was poorly written?

You guessed it: Luke Chapman, Marge Hadden, Polly Sierer, Stu Markham, and Todd Ruckle.

Do those names sound familiar?

And to add insult to injury, the Council did what it tends to do all too often.

Instead of simply throwing out a poorly written bill and rewriting it, they spend endless wasteful hours trying to re-write and amend the bad bill — on the fly.

This is what continually leads to excessive lengthy meetings.

But yet, some Council members want to blame the public participation on the lengthy meetings and recently tried to silence the public in the name of shorter meetings.

Guess who they were?

Luke Chapman, Polly Sierer, Stu Markham, and Todd Ruckle!

So now you understand why we feel so bad for seeing the owners of Wood Fired Pizza and Mediterranean Grill sit through this — just to be able to conduct their business!

There was one positive highlight of the meeting.

Councilman Mark Morehead started a discussion to start requiring meeting agenda items to have a sponsor.

It’s a novel concept of transparency; giving the public knowledge of who is behind certain ideas.

This fits right along with Morehead restoring the public’s right to comment on all agenda items, not just the select few as it was a few years ago.

Let’s hope the five other council seats change their behavior in the positive direction after the elections are over.

In Liberty,

Jeff Lawrence
Newark Local Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. The City of Newark Council continues to work for the Administration, and not their constituents.

Marge Hadden, Todd Ruckle and three others voted to withhold at least $600,000 of the residents’ money for no reason.

They also voted against removing a poorly written bill banning strollers in the parks, guaranteeing that a lengthy discussion will be required to amend the bill during the next meeting and dragging out meetings to labor over a bill that needs to start from scratch.

Meanwhile, Mark Morehead started a discussion that will further the transparency and accountability of the City government.

At least one of them seems to understand that his job is to serve his constituents, not to betray them!

Is Newark Councilman Todd Ruckle serious?

Is Councilman Todd Ruckle saying one thing, but doing another?

Comparing his words to his voting record is truly puzzling.

Councilman Ruckle has continued to support tons of useless spending within the City and votes to tax more of your money away to fund it.

Yet, during the recent Christina School District referendum, he was very vocal in his opposition for increasing the school taxes, challenging the School Board to enact budget cuts instead.

How does oppose taxes for the school district, but then behave in exactly the opposite manner as a deciding vote on a City Council — where he actually has control over the matter!

At one single council meeting alone, he voted to raise our property taxes and to raise our water rates.

Let’s suppose Todd thinks the City’s budget is already cut to the bone.

Then why, at the very same meeting, did he vote to spend nearly $200,000 on solar powered trash cans for Main Street?

At this past Monday’s Council meeting, he again voted to spend another $130,000 on yard waste cans and to give them out for free to the residents.

This is despite the fact that members of the public suggested the City sell the cans to recuperate the cost for this valuable, but non-essential service.

All of this spending will be overshadowed by the threat of a $14 million parking garage for Main Street.

Todd’s solution to this one is to form a public-private partnership where the private sector and the City would somehow partner in this endeavor.

“Public-private partnership” is another term for crony capitalism, plain and simple.

When government and industry mix, trouble inevitably follows. Favorites are picked, while competitors are rejected. Profits are privatized, while losses are picked up by the taxpayers.

There is a much easier solution.

The City could sell the land upon which the proposed garage sits, and let the private industry decide if a garage is even needed!

And if they decide one is needed, they can put their own money up to build it, without the entanglements of the City.

The sale of the land would surely bring in around $3-7 million, which could go a long way to solving the City’s biggest issue . . .

. . . our crumbling Storm Water System.

He previously sold the residents out with the recently installed ‘smart’ parking meters.

He supported the idea that money left on a meter after a customer pulls away should be stolen and given to the City, rather than being left for the next customer.

In a brief moment of empathy, he promised that he would try to modify the meters to refund that extra money back to the original customer.

After a quick phone call, we discovered that the meters were already capable of refunding unused money!

And yet, after this was brought to Todd’s attention almost 6 months ago, he has done nothing about it.

Broken promises?

During this six months, around $25,000 has been stolen from meter customers, many of which are Newark residents, in this “Ruckle Reset.”

As each day passes, more and more money will be stolen, until Todd gets his act together.

Finally, at the next Council meeting, on March 9th a bill that Todd sponsored will go up for vote.

With this bill, he is trying to restrict the height of your back yard fence!

A resident in his district has a problem with a tall fence his neighbor built. While the concern is valid, this does not call for liberty-stripping legislation!

See, these types of disputes should be settled by the courts, who can evaluate them on a case-by-case basis.

If every neighborly grievance led to legislative restrictions, we would have NO liberties at all.

That is why we have three branches of government – to establish a separation and balance of powers:

  • legislative branch to craft a simple set of laws
  • executive branch to carry out those laws
  • judicial branch to interpret and enforce the laws

Todd should really understand this – especially as he is supposedly part of one of those branches!

Please let Todd know that he really needs to start voting better.

Call him today and tell him to stop staring at his cell phone, and start paying attention to the residents of Newark!

Todd Ruckle: (302) 893-1601

In Liberty,

Jeff Lawrence
Newark Local Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. Todd Ruckle, in his first year of council, has done a pretty bad job.

He has repeatedly voted for tax increases, while also approving wasteful spending. He continually supports money being stolen from residents via the ‘smart’ parking meters.

And he does not even understand the separation of powers in our three-branch government system. After stealing your money at his meters and throwing it into solar powered trash cans, he now wants to tell you how to build a fence.

Please call Councilman Ruckle today at (302) 893-1601 and urge him to figure out what he stands for.

We did it! Now, let’s keep up the good work…

We did it, Newark!

Thanks to all of your efforts and phone calls, City Council got the message loud and clear – that we did not want to make the process of adding debt any easier.

At the February 9th Council meeting, almost all council members stated that they were not in support of a charter change that would alter the mechanism for gaining debt.

And they all clearly stated that they felt this way due to tremendous outcry from their constituents.

Our voices were heard – so let’s keep up the good work!

For the city to take on additional debt under the current charter, there must be two specific things:

  1. Five votes of YES on the 7-member City Council.
  2. A referendum vote by the citizens

Let’s make sure we block this at step 1 to avoid an unnecessary referendum.

The City wastes our money so much, it should be clear and obvious there is no need to go into debt.

Instead, they should curb wasteful spending and get their priorities in order.

  • They spent $300,000 on trash “compacter cans”
  • They spent $600,000 on lawyers to try to force the power plant on us
  • They spent $100,000 on a new phone system that makes it harder to get in touch with the staff
  • And it goes on and on . . .

And when Councilman Todd Ruckle isn’t telling people how high their fences can be, he’s pushing a $14 Million crony-capitalist project for an unnecessary parking garage on Main Street — with no money to pay for it.

It only takes is 3 council members to block this debt and one of those council members could be yours.

Call the mayor and your council member now. Tell them to pay down our debt and get their spending in order:

District 1: Mark Morehead (302) 521-9525
District 2: Todd Ruckle (302) 893-1601
District 3: Rob Gifford (302) 803-0451
District 4: Marge Hadden (302) 983-9087
District 5: Luke Chapman (302) 293-7639
District 6: Stu Markham (302) 456-1755
Mayor:     Polly Sierer (302) 690-1741

If you are not sure which council member represents you, you can look it up by street name here.

In Liberty,

Jeff Lawrence
Newark Local Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. We beat back the proposed charter change thanks to your phone calls and attendance at the Council meeting.

But the City is still going to move forward and try adding to Newark’s current $22 Million debt!

Call Mayor Polly Sierer and your City Council member today at the numbers listed above and urge them to Vote NO on any debt increases.

Tell them that the key to balancing the budget is to cut their wasteful spending, not hurt our financial future.

Newark: Debt vote this Monday

Just a reminder, the vote to dramatically change financial safeguards in the City of Newark will be this Monday, February 9th after the Council comes out of their executive session that starts at 6:00 PM.

Council will meet as they do twice a month in the Municipal Building located at 220 South Main Street and debate this change to the City’s charter.

They will vote on whether or not to remove the requirement for a public referendum vote each time they want to take on significant amounts of additional debt.

But even worse than that, they want to lower the number of Council votes required to do so — from FIVE to FOUR!

With a Council of just 7 people, that’s a big deal.

And it’s the best safeguard against irresponsible debt, since politicians can be held accountable and the public cannot.

Please call the Council members below and tell them NO CHARTER CHANGE!

In Liberty,

Jeff Lawrence
Newark Local Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty



How easily do you put yourself into debt?

I know there are times when we have to take on some personal debt, like when the bills are stacking up and the money is temporarily coming in at a slower rate.

But it sure is a hard decision to make, as debt can be tough to work out of.

The City of Newark is currently around $20 Million in debt, due to unnecessary spending and financial irresponsibility.

And now they want to make it even easier for them to go further into debt!

For the city to take on additional debt under the current charter, there must be two specific things:

  1. Five votes of YES on the 7-member City Council.
  2. A referendum vote by the citizens.

On Monday, January 26th the City will begin discussion of changing it.

The changes will lower the required number of City Council votes to FOUR . . .

. . . and ELIMINATE the referendum vote by the citizens — continuing the city’s blatant disregard of the citizens and their voice.

Debt has its time and place, but should never be incurred casually.

There are many unnecessary, yet expensive, projects that the City Administration is chomping at the bit to begin. By making it easier to incur debt, it will make it easier for them to push their pet projects through.

Call the mayor and your council member now. Tell them that debt is serious business and to stop this proposed charter change in its tracks.

District 1: Mark Morehead (302) 521-9525
District 2: Todd Ruckle (302) 893-1601
District 3: Rob Gifford (302) 803-0451
District 4: Marge Hadden (302) 983-9087
District 5: Luke Chapman (302) 293-7639
District 6: Stu Markham (302) 456-1755
Mayor:     Poly Sierer (302) 690-1741

If you are not sure which council member represents you, you can look it up by street name here.

In Liberty,

Jeff Lawrence
Newark Local Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. The City of Newark wants to make it easier to incur debt by lowering the Council vote requirement and eliminating the voice of the people by referendum vote.

We are already roughly $20 Million in debt, so we should hardly be making it any easier to take on more.

Call Mayor Polly Sierer and your City Council member today at the numbers listed above and urge them not to make this change to the city charter.

We should not treat debt so lightly.

How easily do you put yourself into debt?

I know there are times when we have to take on some personal debt, like when the bills are stacking up and the money is temporarily coming in at a slower rate.

But it sure is a hard decision to make, as debt can be tough to work out of.

The City of Newark is currently around $20 Million in debt, due to unnecessary spending and financial irresponsibility.

And now they want to make it even easier for them to go further into debt!

For the city to take on additional debt under the current charter, there must be two specific things:

  1. Five votes of YES on the 7-member City Council.
  2. A referendum vote by the citizens.

On Monday, January 26th the City will begin discussion of changing it.

The changes will lower the required number of City Council votes to FOUR . . .

. . . and ELIMINATE the referendum vote by the citizens — continuing the city’s blatant disregard of the citizens and their voice.

Debt has its time and place, but should never be incurred casually.

There are many unnecessary, yet expensive, projects that the City Administration is chomping at the bit to begin. By making it easier to incur debt, it will make it easier for them to push their pet projects through.

Call the mayor and your council member now. Tell them that debt is serious business and to stop this proposed charter change in its tracks.

District 1: Mark Morehead (302) 521-9525
District 2: Todd Ruckle (302) 893-1601
District 3: Rob Gifford (302) 803-0451
District 4: Marge Hadden (302) 983-9087
District 5: Luke Chapman (302) 293-7639
District 6: Stu Markham (302) 456-1755
Mayor:     Poly Sierer (302) 690-1741

If you are not sure which council member represents you, you can look it up by street name here.

In Liberty,

Jeff Lawrence
Newark Local Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. The City of Newark wants to make it easier to incur debt by lowering the Council vote requirement and eliminating the voice of the people by referendum vote.

We are already roughly $20 Million in debt, so we should hardly be making it any easier to take on more.

Call Mayor Polly Sierer and your City Council member today at the numbers listed above and urge them not to make this change to the city charter.

Let’s use your money to buy property.

Hey, it’s time for us to buy some property!

No? That’s okay, I couldn’t afford it either.

The interesting thing is, the City of Newark can’t afford it . . .

. . . but that does not seem to be stopping them.

At the upcoming December 8th council meeting, the City will be holding an Executive Session to discuss “site acquisitions for publicly funded capital improvements.”

What that means specifically, we do not know, as Executive Sessions are done BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

What are they trying to hide?

This situation reminds me of the recent case where the City Council — again, behind closed doors — arranged for a land swap to expand their parking lot behind the Galleria.

They got this land by loosely using the threat of eminent domain against the private owner who had land they wanted.

This is the land that the City is proposing to build a $14 Million parking garage on.

There are three issues with that.

First, the City does not have the money. In fact, we are in the midst of budget season, and the city is threatening the residents with another $1.6 million in tax increases!

The University of Delaware owns nearly half the land in the town, but they do not pay property taxes, and every bit of land the City buys is just more land that generates ZERO property tax revenue.

In other words, more than half of the land in this town contributes $0 in property taxes toward the city’s budget.

And instead, that share is payed by YOU as part of the land-owning minority that is forced to pay property taxes, or a tenant of one.

Second, the City should not be involved in the parking garage business.

The city charter is only to provide essential services, yet they have been neglecting $8 Million of storm water drainage repairs for over 16 years!

Third, there is no evidence that a $14 Million parking garage is needed. Personally, I never have trouble finding a parking spot around Main Street . . .

. . . and the city has not provided any data to prove that it is essential to take on $14 Million of debt for such a project.

Instead of spending $14 Million that the City does not have, they would be much smarter to sell the land they propose to build the garage on.

That way, a private business could decide to either maintain the parking lot as it is, or — if there really is a market demand for more parking — build a garage.

Either way, they would be using their own money, not ours.

And it would give the City Administration an immediate infusion of cash so they could almost fully fund the repairs to the #1 essential service problem of the City; our crumbling storm water system.

Each time it rains heavily, our neighbors’ houses get damaged and local businesses have inventory destroyed by the flood waters.

Fixing this problem seems way more important than forcing a property swap and taking on another $14 Million of new debt for a parking garage.

We must insist that the City Council instruct the City Administration to change their proposed budget and act in a more financially responsible way.

Fix the problems and stop wasting our money!

In Liberty,

Jeff Lawrence
Newark Local Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. The City of Newark pushed a land swap to expand their Main Street parking lot using the threat of eminent domain. Next, they threaten to add $14 Million of new debt onto our backs to build a non-essential parking garage on that land.

It would be much more responsible to sell that land, fix our flooding streets, and let a private company handle the parking lot.

And they are at it again. At this Monday’s Council meeting, they are going BEHIND CLOSED DOORS again in an Executive Session to discuss the acquisition of more land.

Tell them to stop buying property and focus on the neglected essential services that our city charter demands.

Last night got a little wild, but we did well

It was a classic episode of “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.”

At the Newark City Council meeting last night, residents waited for hours to express their opinions on the proposed water rate hike, as well as a very irresponsible budget for 2015.

It took nearly 3 hours — at just before 10:00 PM — before the citizens of Newark were given the opportunity to speak a single word.

The good news is, we applied enough pressure to delay the vote on the water tax hike. It will now be part of the final budget discussion on December 15th.

We also got the city to admit that we were actually talking about a 14% water rate increase, since the city’s $9 Million sweetheart deal with Honeywell Corporation to install utility “smart meters” has already increased their revenues by over 7%.

But the bad news out of the meeting last night was the planning and budgeting practices of our city, as they are absolutely determined to flagrantly spend taxpayer money and drive our city into more debt on ill-advised — and often unadvised — wish list projects and pay raises.

Our Delaware State Coordinator, Eric Boye, was in attendance and pointed out that, while the Storm Water Drain system has been neglected for 16 years and needs $8 Million for repairs . . .

. . . the city is attempting to spend $14 Million on a multilevel parking garage in the heart of Main Street that is not only unnecessary, but is not even something the city government should be involved in.

The city admitted they have absolutely no data to support this level of construction for increased parking, that they do not calculate return on investment for their projects, and that a study might be performed or completed sometime early next year.

Eric also pointed out that while the median household income in Newark is only $51,128 a year (roughly $24 per hour), who must then pay for the salaries of the city staff . . .

. . . virtually every city employee is receiving anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 in pay raises and increases of $200 to $500 in their bonuses . . .

. . . more than a 50 of whom are already making over $70,000 to $140,000 a year!

Yes, even their bonuses are getting bonuses.

So you’ve heard the good and some of the bad. Now, it’s time for the ugly.

The City of Newark is embarking on an unsustainable financial future. The citizens are slowly catching on and its effects are bringing out the ugly sides of certain Council members.

Mayor Polly Sierer continued her personal assault on the citizens last night, ejecting our own New Castle County Coordinator, Brett Zingarelli, from the building after he obliged a request from a woman in the audience to pass a note over to her Councilman.

Brett’s adherence and attention to rules is so strong, he had never been kicked out of anything before in his entire life.

As a veteran of two overseas wars — which the Council had just applauded two weeks ago for Veterans Day . . .

. . . and a concerned citizen that has dutifully attended every council meeting for the last two years to fight for our rights and freedoms . . .

. . . he deserved better than what you’re about to read next.

Brett gave the note to the Councilman, per the woman’s request, and Mayor Polly Sierer immediately said, “Brett, you’re Out Of Order. You need to leave.”

Surprised and confused, Brett asked, “How am I out of order. What rule have I broken?”

The Mayor’s display of emotion was tragic, not answering his question and instead, hollering and screaming at Brett to leave the room as he tried to gather his belongings from under his chair . . .

. . . making a point to continue yelling at him as he walked through the crowd to the exit doors, making members of the audience uncomfortable, even up to the point where he physically passed through the doorway.

U.S. Army Specialist Zingarelli was officially kicked out of a public meeting and building by one person, the Mayor, for no reason . . .

. . . with several Council members fully admitting after the meeting that he had broken NO RULE and had done NOTHING wrong!

District 4 Council member, Marge Hadden, notorious for voting with the establishment and being confused during the meeting discussions, also went on offense against some concerned citizens and tried to rally support for the city purchasing military-grade AR-15 rifles for the Newark Police Department.

And when a member of the audience, who is educated in the subject of firearms, tried to quickly answer one of her minor questions —

— she became red in the face, told him to “SHUSH” and then violently shook her finger for an awkward 3 to 4 seconds.

Here are a few more highlights from Newark’s proposed 2015 budget:

The entrance to the new $1 Million Curtis Mill “parking lot” park on Paper Mill Road will have its entrance blocked while the city tears up the street for a hasty water pipe repair that should have been included in the “parking lot” park plan.

They now want to develop Old Paper Mill Road Park across the street.

The city wants to spend $8.9 Million on an electric substation that is not only over-sized for the short-term, but will not be fully utilized for 50 to 100 years.

  • $1.3 Million in pay increases for city staff
  • the City Manager raking in a $150,000 salary
  • a last minute referendum proposal to change the city’s charter
  • a Rain Tax identical to what has been implemented in Maryland
  • and so much more . . .

We’ve got a big job to do in Newark over the next 3 weeks and your help will be needed. You’ve got to become involved to help stop this unsustainable train wreck.

This email alone identifies nearly $25 Million Dollars of spending that is of lower priority than the $8 Million in storm water drain repairs that have gone ignored by this Council and Mayor, as well as previous ones.

Please call Mayor Polly and her dutiful, “Yes, M’am” members below. Tell them to reject this budget until it stops spending money on any new projects outside of the storm water drain system that has been neglected for 16 years and has critical, live utility feeds running through it.

Mayor Polly Sierer 302-690-1741
District 2 Todd Ruckle 302-893-1601
District 4 Marge Hadden 302-983-9087
District 6 Stu Markham 302-456-1755

Don’t listen to their excuses. Don’t fall for their talking points.

Just tell them to focus on essential city services that are in scope with the city charter and stop straying into the unnecessary and low priority spending projects contained in the current 2015 budget proposal.

In Liberty,

Jeff Lawrence
Newark Local Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. While one of our own was wrongfully ejected from the building by an overzealous Mayor Polly, we still achieved a temporary victory last night in delaying the vote on a water rate tax hike.

That tax increase will now be wrapped into the overall budget decision at the next Newark Council meeting on December 15th.

Please call the Council members listed above and tell them that the current 2015 budget is unacceptable; they need to force City Administration to halt all projects and focus on the $8 Million storm water drain repairs that they have ignored for almost two decades!