Eleven Million Dollar Handout

Campaign for Liberty

Most people complain about government corruption and sweetheart deals, but few of us know about the ones in our own backyard.

The politicians in Dover are professionals in this arena. There are times that municipal leaders are even better than them.

But recent activity in New Castle County is having ripple effects on every taxpayer in the state.

In the midst of massive, bloating government across Delaware – from a $100 million looming deficit at the state capitol to the rise of school tax hike referendums . . .

. . . New Castle County’s government is set to finalize an $11 million taxpayer handout to five well-connected farmers in the Port Penn area.

And the program they are receiving this money through, the “New Castle County Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program,” was not even created by a vote from the county council!

We will be covering this in depth at our meeting, as well as updates on our fight against gun control and a forecast on that legislation next year, in the Bear Library this Wednesday, October 28, at 7:00 p.m. (More details below.)

The State Department of Agriculture has a Farmland Preservation program, which is considered one of the best in the country.

They are graded by the amount of land prohibited from development versus the amount of taxpayer money given to farmers for that agreement.

In other words, the state annually gives farmers money for the promise of not contracting with developers.

And while the act of using taxpayer dollars to pay off selected people and control the market is unconstitutional, the First State is at least less costly to the taxpayer and more efficient than other states. So those of us who oppose the program should also oppose any attempts to make it more costly and inefficient.

The state program looks at all of the applications each year and awards those who will preserve the most land value per taxpayer dollar.

But the existing program does not pick your pockets enough for a few farmers in New Castle County. They wanted to “get rich quick,” and someone behind the scenes decided to use a county-level program to make it happen.

They have even struck a deal to pay their crony buddies TEN TIMES the average award price, paying them for every acre, and still allow them to develop up to 40% of their land.

So much for “preservation”!

Awards at the state level typically fall between $1,400 and $1,800 an acre to “preserve” farmland for roughly 10 years.

The farmer keeps their land, continues to farm it, but the contract to prohibit development stays with the property even if they sell it to someone else.

New Castle County’s inaugural handouts for its first five farmers top out around $26,800 an acre.

Yes, you are reading that correctly.

The state program averages under $2,000 an acre, but New Castle County is giving away the store at $20,000+ an acre – with only half of the money coming from your federal tax dollars.

And your state tax dollars are getting thrown in as well.

The first two farmers demanded $6.3 Million in 2014 and their deals have been held up in this swirling controversy. The county said they could secure $3 Million, which the feds would match, bringing the deal $300,000 short.

That’s when State Senators Bethany Hall-Long (D-10th) and Bruce Ennis (D-14th) got involved, inserting a $300,000 appropriation for “New Castle County Farmland Initiative” into the state’s Bond Bill for 2015.

And every state legislator – both in the Senate and the House – voted YES on that Bond Bill, minus Rep. Jack Peterman, who was absent.

Here are the details for our meeting on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 28, at 7 p.m.
Bear Library
101 Governors Place
Bear, DE 19701

Please join us for all of the details and the steps you can take to put a stop to this Farmland Preservation scam.

In Liberty,

Eric Boye
Delaware State Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. $11 million taxpayer funds are at stake in one of the most brazen acts of cronyism to hit our state in recent memory. Even state and federal dollars are mixed up in the New Castle County “Farmland Preservation” scam.

Help us put a stop to these “Get Rich Quick” schemes. Please join us this Wednesday, October 28, at Bear Library, at 7 p.m.

And please also come prepared to organize against gun control at the municipal, county, and state level as we look ahead to 2016.

They want you poor and defenseless

Campaign for Liberty

The efforts of the political class to increase your taxes and take away your liberties has not slowed one bit in the state of Delaware.

Our meeting in New Castle County next week will address some very important issues.

While school districts hold tax hike referendums across the state to continue funding their high-dollar executive administrations, your state government faces a $100 Million shortfall that will be addressed when the legislature returns in January.

House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and Senate President Patricia Blevins are continuing to parrot the tired talking points of “decreased revenue” instead of admitting to their wasteful spending.

It’s a safe bet more tax hikes are on their agenda.

As if our fiscal woes were not enough, the powerful anti-gun lobby continued to strip away your ability to protect yourself during last year’s session.

House Bills 192 and 201 passed just after 1:00 a.m. on the final day of this year’s session, breaking the long-standing state preemption protection of your 2nd Amendment rights.

Now, every county and municipal government can pass gun bans in their public buildings, creating more “Gun Free Zones” for criminals to prey on the defenseless.

Please join us for our New Castle County meeting, where we will break down these new laws, the consequences of the legislation, and the politicians who passed it.

Wednesday, September 23, at 7 p.m.
Bear Library
101 Governors Place
Bear, DE 19701

We know what the end goal is for those who attack your liberty. They will continue to find ways to take your money and slice away at your constitutional rights.

Our freedom and prosperity needs more activists at the local and state levels. Please attend next Wednesday and help us advance liberty in our state.

In Liberty,

Eric Boye
Delaware State Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. Please join us at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 23, in Bear, DE as we battle the gun control agenda and prepare to fight back against tax hikes when the state legislature returns in January.

Follow Up: Referendums, Testing Opt Out, and Gun Control

Our first New Castle County Meeting for 2015 was a great success, with a standing-room only crowd at the Bear Library!

We promised this follow up email, with links to the Testing Opt Out and Gun Control legislation discussed, plus dates to remember for the month ahead regarding the Christina Referendum — starting with our special event next week on May 7th.

Testing “Opt Out”

While there was disagreement in the room on the political strategy of supporting Opt Out legislation, House Bill 50 contains obvious violations of personal liberty.

So long as those infringements on parental and privacy rights exist in the bill, we must remain in opposition to this legislation.

CLICK HERE to find the link to House Bill 50, as well as a description of the problematic provisions.

Municipal Gun Control

Draft legislation for a “Muni Gun Ban” was released to ban personal protection in all municipal building, as well as any building — public or private — where a government entity meets in an official capacity.

Currently, this draft legislation is still seeking sponsors at the Capitol.

CLICK HERE to find the link to the draft bill, as well as the information we have up to this point on its origins.

School District Referendum

The next tax hike referendum attempt by Christina School District is scheduled for May 27th, with one more school board meeting scheduled for May 12th.

This issue is relevant to all school districts across the state.

The problems facing Christina today have already been felt in the Appoquinimink, Colonial, Red Clay, Seaford, Milford, and Cape Henlopen school districts.

And it will continue.

If we do not tackle the root causes of rising costs and declining student performance during one of these referendums, this problem will continue to spiral further in the wrong direction.

As we outlined in the meeting, it’s clear that the Christina school board is asking the citizens to vote on a bad solution,  insisting on slashing pro-student resources . . .

. . . while protecting nearly 100 non-essential positions and bloated executive salaries as high as $192,000 a year.

We will be having a special referendum event prior to the May 12th board meeting. Here are the details:

Thursday, May 7th at 7:00pm
Bible Fellowship Church of Newark
808 S Old Baltimore Pike
Newark, DE 19702

Proponents of referendum passage have made a conscious decision to use similar tactics from their victorious counterparts in Red Clay back in February, holding regular “political action” meetings, professional marketing services . . .

. . . and even using district taxpayer dollars to fund their pro-tax hike literature and advertisements — including plans to pay for street side billboards!

Parents, teachers, and other residents who oppose the school district’s proposal are having their own tax dollars used against them and need to make their voice heard.

It’s unacceptable. And the current referendum proposal on the ballot is the wrong proposal to be voting on.

We will be calling for the school board to cancel the referendum and START OVER by listening to the better ideas put forth by the community.

Please join us for our special referendum event on May 7th at Bible Fellowship Church in Newark.

In Liberty,
Eric Boye
Delaware State Coordinator
Campaign for Liberty

P.S. Please join us at 7:00pm on Thursday, May 7th at the Bible Fellowship Church of Newark on Old Baltimore Pike.

We need to come together as a county and try to stop Delaware’s high cost, low performance approach to education on the battlefield of Christina School District.

Help us pressure that school board to stop their May 27th Tax Hike Referendum and START OVER by listening to parents, teachers and other residents.

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!