40th District Candidates Questions – Comments

Posted: 10/06/2008 by that's Elbert in Delaware, election, Laurel, Laurel Delaware
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Here are some of my thoughts on the candidates’ responses to our questions as presented here, here, and here.

1. Gun control. I’m pleased with both responses. I do not support felons or mentally unstable to legally possess firearms. Biff Lee’s A+ rating with the NRA is definitely a plus for me.

2. Increased funding for Del Tech’s capital improvements. I would not support a tax hike to fund the capital improvements, rather tuition hikes will probably be necessary. Realize I say that reluctantly, having one child and my wife attending the college. Barb Hudson didn’t really rule out a tax increase but did say it would be the last resort. Biff Lee didn’t come right out and say he didn’t support a tax hike but he did support residents’ will that there be no tax increase. I will probably find out if he personally thought a tax hike would be necessary.

3. Open Government. Both candidates supported the idea. Biff Lee suported the bills introduced this year and stated a commitment to continue his support. I say open it up as wide as you can get it.

4. Balanced budget and spending. Hudson acknowledged a need to reduce spending but no specifics. Lee also didn’t provide any specifics but did say removing unproductive programs was a need. There is probably a wide difference of opinion between Dover and the citizens of Delaware on which programs are unproductive. I am glad it is at least being examined. That type of activity should continue.

5. Senior citizens and the cost of energy. (Howard actually asked this question. Despite the rumors, I have got a little ways to go before I am able to be a seasoned citizen. Notice I didn’t say “called a seasoned citizen” because I have gotten called that by my kids.) Biff Lee gave a lengthy response, covering several agencies that are able to help our older citizens. Both candidates brought up alternate fuels but no mention of using our own oil offshore. Dover doesn’t have much say regarding whether companies can drill off our shores. The Blue Water Wind project, which is sitting off our shores, was a good idea as long as some point it becomes profitable without government subsidies. Most experts say that we are still 10 years away from a real workable alternative fuel as well as being 10 years before we see any help with our own oil. Why not talk about both? I am glad to see Lee mention nuclear energy although I have to wonder where Delaware could put a nuclear power plant.

6. Shortage of quality corrections officers and problems in our jails. Barb Hudson questioned the correlation between officer shortages and prisoner problems. It would seem to me that this is would be obvious. It is easy to see that in a classroom the smaller the number of students per teacher the more effective that teacher will be with instruction and classroom order. If our prisons lack of number of security professionals then the number of inmates per officer obviously increases. Management of the prisoners would be harder when you are dealing with a larger group of individuals, thus leading to problems. Biff Lee affirms the problem with a smaller pool of officers. He indicates that the problem stems from low wages. The state does need to address these issues with our corrections department along with finding ways to keep people out of prison. Maybe we need to talk to Sheriff Joe Arpaio for some ideas. A fresh look at our problems wouldn’t be a bad idea.

7. Del Pointe. Most of my regular readers know that I oppose proposed Del Pointe horse racing track near Millsboro. Discussing Del Pointe specifically, Biff Lee points out that the original legislation allowing slots only gave it to three places, so to allow slots would not be easy. Lee opposes adding another horse track, and states that sports betting support in the 40th is not there. By her response, Barb Hudson would seem to support sports betting if allowed, but seemed to possibly oppose the Del Pointe project. Personally, I don’t want any expansion of gambling, period.

8. Delaware Psychiatric Center. Hudson comes down on certifying attendants with a board to monitor those certified. Lee says that a lack of oversight has led to the mess there and that a good house cleaning would be needed. I would agree that a good house cleaning is in order. Not knowing with any certainty, I would have assumed that there was already some type of background check for those employed there. More than likely a combination of both would be in order. In my mind a house cleaning would be mandatory.

10. Eminent Domain. For both candidates, property rights should be upheld and protected. I would agree with both.

11. Choice in education. Both candidates currently support the state’s current system of choice in schools but resist the idea of extending that choice to private schools for low income families. While families with higher incomes can usually take advantage of the private school option, most low income families don’t also have that choice. I think it would be good to examine this choice, however neither of the candidates are open to this idea.

What do you think about some of the candidates responses?

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Comments
  1. Erin J says:

    School Choice-

    While I understand that many students and families do not have the financial means to move their students to private schools, I believe that the students should have more oversight before those types of programs are implemented. Did the student use the Federally mandated tutoring programs? Is there a history and record of communication and contact between the family and the school system about achievement issues? What interventions have both the school and family done? Is the student being successful to the best of their ability? Does the student have unidentified special needs? What kind of grades is the student getting? What are their standardized testing scores through a longitudinal perspective?

    I guess my thought is that any of my tax dollars that are going to be used to send a student to a private school should be subject to the same heavy oversight that every other government spending for education is. Perhaps a team approach with the family, a representative from the school, and representatives from government making the final decision based on a range of factors before funds are granted. And when the student reaches the private school, it should be viewed as a privilege that is subject to revocation, not a right.

    I do not believe that any student should have a “golden-ticket” out of a school system without earning it. Much as the school is required to do, the families should exhaust every effort to resolve the achievement problem at their home school. If more families did those simple active roles the problems would be significantly less. Simply saying a school is no good gives many families the unfortunate excuse to become disengaged when their students are not succeeding.

    Thoughts?

  2. Erin J, you wrote:

    Simply saying a school is no good gives many families the unfortunate excuse to become disengaged when their students are not succeeding.

    An excellent point. Parental involvement is important to a student’s success.

  3. Does anyone have thoughts about Del Pointe? Del Tech’s capital improvements?

  4. Oh I got some thoughts here for ya:

    Gun Control: As a libertarian my views my be far from party line, but I believe that line may be too far from reality. I am in favor of prior felons, after a long period of probation, say, 10 years, being able to legally purchase guns. If they served their time and haven’t committed a crime after ten years, I say they have acclimated back into society, and should not be discriminated against.

    Not the crazies, though. Nut jobs should not be allowed to get a gun.

    Delaware Tech: Let me say first off that I am a current Del Tech student, although I am not a SEED scholar.

    I say limit the SEED program. You can’t have it both ways. It is bad enough that our tax dollars are subsidizing a DelTech student’s education in the first place, now that the school cannot handle the student load that a free education offers, it needs MORE tax money to fund for improvements because of accepting too many students.

    I would hazard a guess to say that more than 50% of the students at Del Tech have financial assistance. Raising tuition will not impact them, just suck more money out of the federal programs. So, either raise local taxes, or take federal tax money. Lose-lose situation.

    If you cannot afford the program, trim it back, or find other ways to increase funding for infrastructure.

    Correctional Officers: I once worked with a former correctional officer who left after 16 years. His general opinion was that the overtime burns out good officers who would otherwise be fine. He had PTSD, and had to leave from the stress. Pay scales might need a boost. I have heard that since Maryland pays better, but Delaware is desperate for officers, many get trained here, get a few years experience, and then jump ship to Maryland where the pay is better. That amount of turnover cannot be good.

    I liked Lee’s side comment that a reduction of crimes were looked at to the overcrowding problem. Did he mean that maybe they looked at decriminalizing marijuana possession?

    Overall, I can see Lee’s experience and Hudson’s inexperience shine through in their answers.

  5. Brian, regarding felons and gun ownership, I knew someone that had murdered someone when he was 17. He served jail time during which he got “saved”, accepting God’s forgiveness through Jesus. It turned his life around. When I met him, he was a well-adjusted husband and father. When I heard about his past, you could have knocked me over with a feather. It seemed so far removed from who he was when I knew him. That is a man I would trust with a firearm if he wanted one. He did prison ministry but couldn’t enter federal prisons because of his felony charges. It didn’t happen until he received a pardon from the governor of Florida. I wonder if the pardon would allow someone to purchase a firearm. Maybe another reader knows.

    For the record, I have no idea if he wanted to own a gun. I was just using him as an example.

    Regarding Del Tech, those that receive grants, at least the Pell Grants, get a set amount based on their income. It isn’t really going to change whether there’s a tuition increase or not. The dollars they receive wouldn’t go as far for other things like books or lab fees, etc.

  6. Del Tech has been steadily raising their lab fees for the last few years to combat a possible raising of tuition.

    Those Pell Grants are federally funded, so they are just your tax dollars from another avenue.

    I would think an DelTech infrastructure fund could be established, just like any other fund, but the timing is just horrible. Three, four years ago this wouldn’t be an issue, I just think that raising taxes because of a new unnecessary program’s unintended consequences is wrong.

  7. Erin J says:

    YAY! Its my first quote used in a blog comment section since my X-Philie days!

    (I enjoy the little things in life…)