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Friday, January 31, 2014

About micro-industries in Wilmington . . .

I've gotten a lot of behind-the-scenes comments about my idea that the government should just basically suspend all licensing and rules that prevent residents of Wilmington from starting their own micro-businesses in their apartments, their churches, or even in the street.

The responses run in three basic flavors.

1.  This would be economically insignificant; people are not going to run out and start micro-businesses in the middle of the city.  Actually, that's not true by a long shot.  From baby-sitting services to hair-dressing to impromptu food stands near major civic events, if we remove the barriers to getting out and hawking their stuff, people will do it.  In part we know that because, all across the country, city officials are fighting a running battle to collect gigantic fees from precisely such micro-entrepreneurs.  It is a war that extends from lemonade stands to food trucks, and it is a war that is depriving inner city residents of even the opportunity to use their own bootstraps to get out of poverty.  We used to admire people who hit the streets to sell things--what happened?  Number two happened. . . .
2.  We can't allow people to open these so-called "micro-businesses" without the benefit of permits, licenses, and inspections--it just wouldn't be safe or fair.  Hogwash.  What the bizarre meshwork of licenses and permits and inspections in Delaware (and elsewhere) have the MOST to do with is limiting competition in favor of particular classes of vendors who can afford the political clout to lobby for exclusivity.  Brick-and-mortar establishments hate food trucks and street vendors because it is supposedly "not fair" to them that other people selling competing products should not be paying the same fees.  Of course it was completely fair from their perspective when the process ended up with them (as it does in many cities) having such a monopoly (as the only ones who can afford the fees) that they have no competition to keep prices down.  It is not the government's responsibility to protect your business if you cannot figure out a way to compete with small-time competition (hello racinos!).  Nor is it really about a safety issue:  when you have a city bureaucracy that can't manage to insure that residents all live in buildings with functional heat, clean water, or absent lead paint, please don't tell me about the dire problems that could occur if somebody on the street sold a contaminated ham sandwich.  Here's a clue:  people who buy from food vendors on the street realize that there is an increased risk (and if you think there is no risk in restaurants, you've never been inside their kitchens to see what cooks and wait staff do to your food if you tick them off).

3.  We can't afford to give up the revenue from licenses and fees. OK, first of all you're not getting that revenue NOW.  Poor people either enter business illegally or don't enter it at all because they cannot afford to pay the fees or the taxes.  If, on the other hand, you actually allow them to organize for themselves and stay the hell out of the way, two things will happen.  Some folks will fail--miserably--but most won't be any worse off than they were before, and many will get up and try again.  Others will succeed, and that success will improve their lives and the living conditions of their community.

Think of it for a minute:  no "right to work zones," no "development incentives."  Just full-scale commercial down-town anarchy as a stepping stone out of poverty.  Around the developing world it works.

Oh, and one other note:  want to curtail violence in Wilmington and get rid of the "code of silence"?

Let people start making money in their homes and on the street, and guess what?  Street crime goes down because people running improvised food carts or selling products they scarfed up off eBay for a song suddenly have a vested financial interest in safer streets.  People don't walk the streets, they don't make money.

This whole issue, if you like technical terms, is called "urban informality," and there is a lot of good research on it around the world.  If you really want to read about it and get educated, try here, here, here, here, and here. [Some of these are gated and some are abstract--just keep Googling "urban informality" and you will discover not only a wide literature on global developments, but you will also find out how urban informality was a transformative norm in American cities until the mid-20th century.]

We need to have the imagination to have new discussions about Delaware's future.

Republicans and Democrats simply are not having them, so it's time for new voices.

Before we bail out Dennis McGlynn and Delaware casinos . . .

. . . let's take a moment to think about pretending to save jobs while actually (a) socializing the losses of millionaires and (b) throwing good money after bad.

You will note that today's WNJ article bemoaning the drop in Dover Downs net gambling profits from last years' $4.7 million to a mere $13,000 heavily quotes DD CEO Dennis McGlynn talking about how badly his industry needs another State bail-out:

Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment and Dover Motorsports Inc., said the earnings drop, caused by an increase in competition and disproportionate tax rates, validates long-held concerns by casinos that the state has not kept up with a rapidly changing casinoindustry. 
“I think the numbers validate the story we’ve been telling everyone basically, and most particularly those who do control our destiny,” McGlynn said. 
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what next year is going to look like,” he said. 
The casino reported revenues of $197.2 million as of Dec. 31, down from $225.9 million in 2012. Expenses dropped from $215.6 million in 2012 to $195 million last year, according to the casino’s earnings report. 
The casino is carrying $47 million in debt in the form of a revolving line of credit, down from $58 million in 2012.
Before we start shedding tears for Mr. McGlynn and his noble quest to keep blackjack dealers and security guards in their jobs if only the State of Delaware will come up with another bail-out, let's understand a couple of things:

First, Mr. McGlynn has personally become a millionaire several times over thanks to State largess.  In 2011 his compensation from Dover Downs Casinos was $351,000; from Dover Motorsports was $285,600; and from Campus Crest Communities was $30,000.  While his current earnings (and, one suspects, this list from Forbes was not complete) can't be easily determined, we do know that his compensation from Dover Motorsports jumped up from that $285,600 to $422,550 in 2012.

So while Mr. McGlynn is sounding his warnings about economic collapse, you have to realize that he's personally done incredibly well thanks to the State of Delaware limiting his competition inside our borders, subsidizing his business, and supporting his loans.  He's not so much crying about the loss of a blackjack dealer's $50,000/year job, but about the dangers to his own lifestyle.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with being successful . . . unless your success is continually underwritten by other people's tax money and you perennially walk around Dover holding a tin cup in your hand crying that you need more, more, more . . .

Oh, and Mr. McGlynn does spread the wealth to the politicians in the area whose job it is to keep that corporate welfare rolling in.  Here's just 2012:

[Unfortunately for Dover Downs, backing Lincoln Willis last time around turned out to be a good bet gone bad.  Wonder if he's supporting Trey Paradee this year?]

I can't find (yet) comparable earnings information on other people like Delaware Park LLC CEO Andrew Gentile, but you can make a safe bet that Mr. Gentile isn't personally hurting, either.

The reality is that the Delaware General Assembly bet the farm on casino gambling, and refused to acknowledge signs as far back as 2007 that there was now regional competition, and that you couldn't just sit there and wait for people to travel to Dover and throw their quarters into your slot machines.

So our legislators treated casino income as a more or less fixed part of the State budget and happily spent it all, every year, and counted on it in projections for the future.  Then other States got casinos (including more modern casinos with more bells and whistles) and--BAM!--bloom off rose.

So now legislators and the Governor find themselves scrambling to find ways to throw more money at millionaire casino CEOs ostensibly to "save jobs," but really to avoid losing easy tax revenue that is going to diminish relentlessly over the next several years now matter what they do.

So while they claim to be struggling to find the money to fund Medicaid expansion, hitting State workers with the first raise Jack Markell has ever proposed (a whopping 1%), and plotting to borrow half a billion dollars to build new roads and bridges, our legislators will also be shoveling millions of dollars toward Dover Downs, Delaware Park, and Harrington Raceway.

Time to bite the bullet, ladies and gentlemen, and admit that your entire premise was wrong, and that we have to start over when thinking about long-term fiscal stability.

Yeah, that's going to happen.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

About the minimum wage . . .

There are important things to understand about the minimum wage in Delaware, not the least of which would be that about 11,000 workers make at or below the minimum, which is about 5% of our workforce.  About two-thirds of those workers are women; about 51% of them are age 24 or younger [2012 stats].

The first thing to realize is that whether you support the bill or not, it is not going to do very much, either to the businesses or for the employees.  Governor Markell's proposed 10-cent per gallon hike to the gasoline tax will hurt businesses a lot more than the minimum wage hike, and neither McDonalds or Wal-Mart can really cut their staffing much further.

But the optics allow the Democrats to portray themselves as on the side of the workers, and the Republicans to present themselves as on the side of small businesses . . . while neither one gets anything done for Delaware citizens (especially in Wilmington) stranded in poverty in a State where it is far more difficult than the national average to get out of poverty.

So what can we do?  First, let's talk a little more honestly about the issue, and expose a couple of unlovely truths that you won't hear from the Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly, or from Governor Markell's press releases.  [And then, I promise, I'll make specific policy recommendations that are different from what you're seeing out of your favorite D or R politicians.]

Charter Schools: Because WNJ reports don't write their own headlines . . .

. . . because this one--the subtitle--is a fascinating piece of work:

More charter school growth coming, applications show 
Public schools are OK with the competition
So what's wrong with that?  Well, possibly just the fact that very little in  Matthew Albright's story even addresses the question of whether "public schools" are "OK with the competition."

In point of fact, only Brandywine School District Superintendent Mark Holodick addresses the issue at all:
“I think charter schools, like private and parochial schools, give us healthy competition. If they make us think differently about what we are doing and offer better services, that’s a good thing,” said Brandywine School District Superintendent Mark Holodick. “This is not something that I’m worrying about or focused on.”
Possibly that's because, for a variety of reasons, Brandywine has been able to insulate itself from the charter school movement.  Part of that has been intentional (as Pandora would tell you) in the placement of BSD's IB program and the district's carefully calculated flouting of the Neighborhood Schools Act to keep its elementary schools from becoming de facto segregated institutions.  An equal part of that (Pandora and I go round and round on this one) is that BSD has a significantly stronger tax base than its neighbors and is able to spend about $3,000 more per student per year, and contains a distinctly smaller subsection of the poorer areas of Wilmington than Red Clay or Christina.  And a small part of Holodick's willingness to see charters as "healthy competition" is that BSD has traditionally (regardless of the Superintendent in office) never quite seen itself as a part of the Delaware public school system.  Just ask people, and you'll hear the answer, "Yeah, but that's Brandywine . . ."

My point is neither to bury nor praise BSD, but to point out that the opinion of the State's northernmost school district should not be read as a general comment that public school districts are "OK with the competition" from charters.  They might be, they might not be--nothing in this article tells us.

On the other hand, the remarks of others indicate that there IS considerable concern, but that concern is carefully constructed as subtle shots at traditional school districts.  Try these paragraphs, wherein there is a lot to parse:
Still, Holodick and others say it would be wise for the state to think about plans for long-term growth. Jennifer Nagourney, the new head of the state charter school office, would not say the state needs to rein in the number of applications, but did say some school districts that haven’t planned well have suffered consequences. 
“We are very interested in having conversations about what the long-term plan for our charter schools are,” Nagourney said. “We need to talk about what is sustainable and, most importantly, what provides the best situation for our students.” 
Charter school advocates say there’s no reason to apply brakes now. 
“We’re not trying to break down the system, we’re trying to provide as many high-quality options for kids as we can,” said Kendall Massett, executive director of the Delaware Charter Schools Network. “Until every student has a great educational opportunity, there will not be too many charter schools.”
Let's try this in sequence:

1.  Reason to think about long-term growth plans, says Jennifer Nagourney of the DOE Charter School Office, while blandly blaming any problems on traditional school districts:  "some school districts that haven't planned well have suffered consequences."  This is fascinating language from a person whose pedigree is not, per se, the regulation of charter schools but the advocate for their untrammeled expansion.  As for school districts that "haven't planned well," perhaps Ms. Nagourney could explain exactly how districts plan to cope with new charters authorized in the middle of their areas via a state process that districts have neither say in nor control over.  It is a clever piece of rhetoric to have the State Official responsible for supervising charter schools subtly (or not so subtly) change the conversation by blaming traditional school districts for any problems that might emerge.

2.  You can follow that through in Nagourney's consistently shaded comments in the second paragraph:  "the long-term plans for our charter schools" and "what provides the best situation for our students."  One could be excused for wondering if the OUR in the first clause and the OUR in the second both concern only charter schools.  If--as the grammarian in me suspects--Ms. Nagourney means exactly what she appears to say, then again I should make the point that what DE DOE has done is hire a bureaucrat to cheerlead for rather than manage charter schools in Delaware--and again that is what her background would lead one to suspect.

3.  "We're not trying to break down the system," says Kendall Massett of the Charter Schools Network in what must win the prize for most mock-disingenuous comment of the week.  Of course they are attempting to break down the system--in the honest early days of the Delaware charter school movement, that's exactly what advocates claimed would happen.  It was their mantra--the existing system was already broken, and only by taking resources out of it an handing those resources over to them would an entirely new system develop.  But extreme charter school advocates have, within the past year to eighteen months, suddenly realized that there is pushback, and so have begun modifying their rhetoric if not (yet) their tactics.  Ms. Massett and Ms. Nagourney must publicly claim that their efforts are on behalf of all students, that inadvertent setbacks for students not in their ranks yet are solely attributable to failures in the original system, and that the long-term future of public education in Delaware is for us to become (they think it, but don't say it) the first all-Charter School state.

4.  The foregoing all apply to Mr. Albright's sources--he is hardly to blame for what they choose to tell him.  But I will (at least mildly) call him to account for not asking an important journalistic question:  controlling for income and ethnicity, how well have Delaware charter schools performed for their students?  The answer, if one is honest and consults the data, is about the same--sometimes a little better, sometimes worse.  This is a critical (and usually absent) piece of data from charter school discussions, the fact that when comparable student populations are compared, there is no strong evidence that Delaware charter schools do any better at educating children than traditional public schools.  In cases like Reach Academy, wherein the parents are fighting to keep the school open despite consistently poor academic results, one gets a glimpse of the fact that it is preference, emotion, and perceived exclusivity that really drives loyalty to charter schools rather than performance.  One day it would be good to see the WNJ actually take on this aspect of the conversation, but I'm not holding my breath.

The irony here is that I feel a lot like what Ronald Reagan used to say about the Democrats:  "I didn't leave them, they left me."

I've been a long-term believer in charter schools--my twins attend Charter School of Wilmington.  I've defended CSW's entrance standards and "placement exams."  I've supported candidates who supported charter schools and school choice.

But there is a point at which people of integrity need to exam facts and data rather than hype or self-interested rhetoric.  Nearly two decades into the charter/choice era in Delaware it is time to face the fact that the benefits (and there have been many) from those policies have also been accompanied by negatives for a good many school children in the First State.  Charters and choice have--intentionally or not (I'm not kilroy)--played into a dynamic that has led the de facto segregation of Wilmington's inner-city schools at the same time that a wide variety of resources were being slowly sucked out of the traditional school districts.

Nobody is calling for an end to Delaware's experiment with charter schools, but it is equally clear that we need to have a difficult, honest discussion about their role, their structure, and their impact, before we find ourselves using everyone's tax dollars to subsidize a parallel system that is, in actuality, only open to a lucky few.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The question is not good taste, or libel--the question is abuse of government authority

I had never read Peaceful Rioters of Wilmington Facebook page until jason at Delawareliberal posted about the DE AG's office slapping Facebook with a subpoena to force revelation of the ownership of the page.

Then I visited the page (and "liked" it) so that I could see what all the fuss was about.

Here are my conclusions:

1.  PRW is one of those phenomena that grows when there is attention, wilts when there is not.  Nancy herself pointed out that lots of people were deserting the page last week, and the fact that I'd never even seen a reference to PRW prior to today is a pretty good reference that, as cassandra m opined, their reach is less than that of Channel 28--and that's pathetic.  Had the Powers That Be in Delaware simply left well enough alone, the odds are that the page would simply have settled down to the side-conversation of a few very disgruntled people and their vicarious observers.

2.  For the Attorney General's office to get involved, and for the subpoena to suggest that this is part and parcel of a criminal investigation is disturbing in all sorts of ways.  What's next?  A subpoena for the authors and commenters at Delawareliberal who have speculated outrageously on Beau Biden's health problems or maligned virtually every legislator in the General Assembly?  That can't be good, right?  And the ACLU agrees that this is substantial overreach.

3.  Facebook actually showed some courage here--the subpoena "commanded" FB not to tell the owners of PRW about its existence, but the company did so anyway, probably well cognizant of the fact that Beau Biden can't do squat about their noncompliance.  While, inevitably, FB will knuckle under (read their terms of service sometime), it is at least refreshing to see the company give the AG's office at least a pro-forma stick in the eye before rolling over.

4.  Despite all the back-and-forth over whether Beau Biden actually knew that this subpoena went out (he certainly doesn't approve every one personally), he is the responsible party.  Put this on a trajectory with the AG's Office issuing "secret" policy opinions to both DNREC and DPH, and you begin to wonder exactly who the office is supposed to be protecting--people or politicians?

Free speech includes irresponsible speech.  If the issue is trash-talking that descended to libel, it is important to recall that libel and slander are civil not criminal issues.  The AG's Office has alleged a criminal issue in the issuance of this subpoena.  If that can't be sustained, then somebody needs to answer for an abuse of power.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Poverty in Wilmington . . . and why it is so difficult to get out

We live in a state that likes to think good things about itself--sometimes our biggest obstacle to solving problems is our adamant refusal to admit they exist.

Here's a problem that undercuts the entire minimum-wage, violence-in-Wilmington, public education, etc. etc. etc. arguments:

Delaware in general (and Wilmington in specific) is a very bad place to be poor, because your chances of upward mobility are considerably worse than the national averages.

You should visit the link for a larger view of the county-by-county map if you want nuances, but even a quick glance at Delaware will tell you what the statistics show:  in terms of the ability of children born into poverty escaping poverty, Delaware ranks with North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi [the darker the red, the worse the chances].

As for Wilmington proper, Equality of Opportunity divided the country up into 709 Commuting Zones (counties that shared a common economic center) and then rated the chances of a child growing up in the bottom fifth managing to reach the top fifth within that zone.  Some of the percentages are quite amazing, and others are predictable once you think about it.  Commuting Zones based on smaller, more rural areas tend to have more economic mobility, partly because there is less of a difference between the top and bottom fifth than elsewhere (which is why, I suspect, that North Dakota is apparently the very best state in the nation for moving out of poverty). [Note:  in the trivia mode, I learned that there is a "Virginia Beach, Nebraska"--never knew that.]

But even some major cities fare quite well:  Bismarck ND (18.7% chance); Dubuque IA (15.9%); San Jose CA (12.9%); Wheeling WV (12.5%); San Francisco CA (12.2%); Tom's River NJ (12.2%); Washington DC (!) (11.2%); Seattle WA (10.9%); Scranton PA (10.7%); New York City (10.5%); Boston MA (10.5%); Newark NJ (!) (10.2%) . . . 

. . . and Wilmington DE (6.6%).  According to my count (and I could be off by one or two places as they did not number the columns, the Wilmington DE Commuter Zone placed 526th out of 709 CZs in the entire nation.  This places us in the company of Chicago IL, Baltimore MD, Kalamazoo MI, and Muskogee OK.

I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that it is nearly twice as easy to escape poverty in Washington DC, and 50% easier to escape poverty in Newark NJ than it is in Wilmington DE.


Equality of Opportunity cites five major factors that correlate with the ability to escape from poverty (I'm citing from the Executive Summary for ease of quotation, but I've worked through the entire paper, which is here.)

First, let's talk about what factors do NOT appear to have a correlation to escaping poverty:
We find modest correlations between upward mobility and local tax and government expenditure policies and no systematic correlation between mobility and local labor market conditions, rates of migration, or access to higher education.

So what do they find?

First:  Segregation

We begin by showing that upward income mobility is significantly lower in areas with larger African-American populations. However, white individuals in areas with large African- American populations also have lower rates of upward mobility, implying that racial shares matter at the community (rather than individual) level. One mechanism for such a community-level effect of race is segregation. Areas with larger black populations tend to be more segregated by income and race, which could affect both white and black low-income individuals adversely. Indeed, we find a strong negative correlation between standard measures of racial and income segregation and upward mobility.
Second:  [Income] Inequality
CZs with larger Gini coefficients have less upward mobility, consistent with the “Great Gatsby curve” documented across countries (Krueger 2012, Corak 2013). In contrast, top 1% income shares are not highly correlated with intergenerational mobility both across CZs within the U.S. and across countries. Although one cannot draw definitive conclusions from such correlations, they suggest that the factors that erode the middle class hamper intergenerational mobility more than the factors that lead to income growth in the upper tail. 
Third:  K-12 School systems
Areas with higher test scores (controlling for income levels), lower dropout rates, and smaller class sizes have higher rates of upward mobility. In addition, areas with higher local tax rates, which are predominantly used to finance public schools, have higher rates of mobility. 
Fourth:  Social Capital
the strength of social networks and community involvement in an area -- are [is] very strongly correlated with mobility. For instance, high upward mobility areas tend to have higher fractions of religious individuals and greater participation in local civic organizations. 
Fifth:  Family Structure
The strongest predictors of upward mobility are measures of family structure, such as the fraction of single parents in the area. As with race, parents' marital status does not matter purely through its effects at the individual level. Children of married parents also have higher rates of upward mobility if they live in communities with fewer single parents. 
There is an awful lot here to digest--almost something for everyone.

It is at this point that you would normally expect a nice, cut-and-dried program of political reform, but it is not time for that yet.  These are national trends, and while we should expect to have them bear some weight on the problem of escaping poverty in Wilmington, we should also be aware that every city, every Commuting Zone if you will, is different, and there are nuances to be examined in the light of the full report and when compared to the data from Wilmington.

So let's bat around causes for awhile before we start jumping on cures.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Because, you know, Libertarians can't win and you wouldn't want them to . . .

The two biggest knocks on Libertarians . . .

They can't win . . .

And if they did they'd only spend their time destroying all the roads and schools, and turn this country into Somalia . . .

So please, if you think that or you have a friend who thinks that, take a look at these:

A Libertarian Martin Luther King Jr. Day post

The essence of Libertarianism in a single story

Then, if you'd actually like to see a Libertarian win, and start to change Dover, look to the right and send a donation.

$5 is not too small; anything under $601 is not too large.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

WDDE radio covers my announcement of candidacy . . . and tells Joe Miro

There is a certain irony in being a Libertarian candidate whose press release is only picked up by an NPR station.

But I'll take it.

Here's how WDDE radio presented my announcement:
A new candidate is challenging a long time State Representative for his seat in Delaware’s 22nd District. 
Delaware State University Professor of History and Political Science Steve Newton announced his candidacy for Representative of the 22nd District earlier this month. The seat, which covers the Pike Creek Valley, is currently held by Republican Joseph Miro. 
Newton, who is running as a Libertarian, says he choose to run to bring a stronger legislative focus to public service. He says the legislature currently spends on corporate welfare while cutting civil services. 
Delaware does not currently have any elected Libertarian legislators, but Newton says that he’s more comfortable running under that banner than as a Democrat . 
“I have railed against the insurance commissioner. I have disagreed severely with Governor Markell on a lot of his education policies,” said Newton. “I said, to be perfectly honest, can I legitimately align myself with a party that I criticize so heavily?” 
Although Newton does not have any political experience, he has served in the military as well as in several state appointed education and health commissions and task forces.
“I’ve been working with a lot these issues in Delaware for the past 20 years and I thought I’m tired of working on commissions and task forces and hearing things and recommendations not followed and I guess it’s time to get into the game,” said Newton.
“My theory is that you don’t have to be in politics to have made a significant contribution to public service.” 
State Rep. Miro has held the 22nd district seat since 1998. He says he welcomes the competition.
One correction:  "no political experience" slightly off the mark.  I've been an elected union president for six years, and managed (sometimes successfully, too!) campaigns for school board candidates and even folks running for statewide officer.  Not to mention that I'm New Castle County Chair of the Libertarian Party of Delaware.

The second note is that last sentence:  I'm sure Joe Miro DOES welcome a third party candidate.

Conventional wisdom says that's the best news an incumbent can get.  Keep believing that, Joe.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Homework . . .

My main philosophical analytical blogging goes on over at The Delaware Libertarian, and you are cordially invited to swing by there on a daily basis.  This site (and its soon-to-be successor to which I will migrate in about a week) are reserved for more specifically campaign oriented materials.  But from time to time I will give you a head's up on information that is directly relevant to current issues in Delaware.

Tonight, three links:

Two semi-random (but critical) facts about public education . . .

In which you will learn what outside evaluations say about Delaware, Governor Markell, and Race to the Top . . .

Spin versus Reality in today's Delaware . . .

. . . which compares (on a much larger scale) what the Governor says about how well we are doing with how well CNBC says we're doing.

Delaware is currently a TWO-payer health insurance State, and why we'll stay that way . . .

. . . in which I show you why attempts to bring single-payer to Delaware, or to bring competitiveness to our insurance exchanges, or even to get better service are not going to be successful because our political leaders have left us with one giant, monopolistic mess in the private insurance field.

If, after you read these, you come to the conclusion that you're discovering information that nobody else is giving you, and you'd like these kinds of facts taken to the General Assembly, think about heading to the right-hand side of the page and making a donation.  $5 is not too small, and anything below $601 is not too large.

I need 7,000 votes to bring a new voice to Dover, and I need your help to do it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Game on! Here's the press release ... and more

It's official!  I'm running for 22nd District State Representative.

Here's the press release:

DSU Professor Steve Newton announces candidacy for 22nd District State Representative 

Citing an atmosphere of “politics as usual rather than public service” afflicting the Delaware General Assembly, Dr. Steve Newton today announced his candidacy for 22nd District (Pike Creek) State Representative.  “Over the past few years our legislature has spent tens of millions on corporate welfare and casino bail-outs, while cutting State funding for transporting homeless students to school,” Newton said.  “The priorities are clearly wrong.”  
Newton, a Professor of History and Political Science at Delaware State University, believes he will bring critical public service experience to the General Assembly.  “I’ve spent twenty years in the military, six years as a union president, and more than two decades working to improve public and higher education.  I’ve served on task forces and commissions, and I’m tired of seeing that hard work watered down or ignored by State government.”  
Fighting for a return to local control and pulling back from high-stakes testing in Delaware schools will be a priority, Newton explained.  “We need to support students, parents, and teachers with resources, not new tests or punitive assessment models.”  He also cited increased transparency and campaign spending reform as essential steps toward a better functioning government.  “We’ve had an illegal charter school task force, secret Attorney General’s Office opinions, and a bipartisan atmosphere of ‘pay to play’ accepted as the status quo,” Newton asserted.  “That’s got to change.”  
Newton has lived in Limestone Hills in Pike Creek since 1997; his wife Faith is also a DSU Professor.  They have three children and one grandchild.  He is running as a Libertarian:  “I won’t waste your money, I won’t try to run your private life, and I’ll be answering to voters, not party bosses.”
We're assembling a campaign team, a presence on Facebook, and all the other usual trimmings, but the most critical ingredient to bringing some real change to Dover is . . . YOU.

Look right, and you'll find the opportunity to sign up for the campaign newsletter.  That's where you'll find out about events and opportunities to volunteer.

There's also the ominous (we'll decorate it soon) Donation button.  In 2012 the incumbent raised over $26K to win this seat--a good percentage of which came from PAC and special interest money that frankly I'm not courting.  We're going to do this the grassroots way, with lots of shoe-leather and conversation, but it still costs money.  We'll make the pennies bleed before we spend them, but whatever you can contribute at the outset will be critical to getting the ball rolling.