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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What's wrong with this picture?

This photo ran in today's WNJ atop a story about another hearing on the proposed data center/power plant in Newark:

So what's the problem?

The problem is what my friend Cassandra M at Delawareliberal calls "a false equivalency."

First, let's google for the page entitled "Steering Committee" and this is what you'll find:

Twelve Newark residents, including some well-known local activists like Jen Wallace and Nancy Willing, who have gotten together to fight what they believe (agree with them or not) is a bad decision to construct a power plant with a data center attached . . . .

Whereas if you visit the comparable page for, you will  find a list of well-heeled lobbying organizations for a variety of special interests--the same folks who have been purchasing politicians "in the Delaware Way" for decades:

That's, uh, the entire website, and the "Latest Articles" headline is not a link.   DEED does say on its FB page that a new site is under construction, and here it is:

What you do find is that nowhere on the DEED site (either of them) can you actually find a list of names of the people involved.  That "unique coalition of Delaware labor and business leaders" is apparently so proud of their endeavors that all the members have chosen to remain . . . anonymous.

If you do visit the DEED Facebook page (which currently sports an awesome 54 likes and a "most popular" week back in December 2013 when 7 people were "talking about this"), you can discover that our anonymous group has some significant heft--at least if you look at the guest list.

Tony DePrima, Executive Director, Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility
Chip Rossi, Delaware Market President, Bank of America
Ed Rendell, former PA Governor
US Senator Chris Coons
Governor Jack Markell
Representative Dennis E. Williams
DNREC Secretary Colin O'Mara
Finance Director Ann Visali
(By the way, if you visit the No Newark Power Plant FB page, they have 426 likes and 66 people currently talking about them.)

(And in case you think I didn't check, the Delaware Jobs Now FB page has 44 likes and nobody visiting the page--besides me--in weeks.)

Why is this all important?

Because the Delaware Way.

The News Journal shows you the photo of the two signs--one "for" and one "against"--and visually attempts to make the point that there are two groups, two sides to every story, sort of a visual equivalence.

The reality is that there is one grassroots group with almost no funding and a lot of individual activists hustling, and another semi-anonymous organization that contains leading Delaware Democrats, investment movers and shakers, and lots of bankers or attorneys.

This is how things "get done" in Delaware.  Delaware Jobs Now is a front organization for large campaign contributors, contractors, developers, and financiers pretending to be grassroots.  No Newark Power Plant (again, love 'em or hate 'em) is exactly the same kind of real grassroots organization that groups like those who fought against the gun control agenda, or those who fought for marriage equality.

Yep, I put the Greens Jen Wallace in the same sentence with somebody like Eric Boye from Delaware Campaign for Liberty, full well knowing that they agree on nothing.

Well, not quite nothing.  Both of them would agree that the thing that scares Delaware politicians the most is the idea of plain old citizens organizing around an idea or a principle, and being willing to make signs, stage rallies, and take their case to any forum they can find in order to gain just a little leverage against the corporate hacks who really run this state.

We need those groups--right and left (you rarely find them in the center)--Libertarian, Green, and C4L--because as fractured and underfunded and contentious as they are, guess what?

They're pretty much the only political hope for meaningful change in Delaware in any direction.

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