2014 Update—February 2nd to15th

On Tuesday the 4th I met with Representative Bryon Short and UD economics professor Saul Hoffman, to discuss the EITC, earned income tax credit, and other fiscal matters.  I hosted my monthly coffee on Wednesday the 5th, and attended the evening’s Progressive Democrats for Delaware (PDD) meeting.  On Thursday the 6th I met with New Castle Vo Tech district superintendent Vicki Gehrt.  On Friday the 7th I met with Delaware Center for Justice’s coordinator of the School Offense Diversion Program, Cindy McDaniel.  After this meeting I connected her up with others who are involved in similar efforts in the area.  On Saturday the 8th Pam and I attended the annual Mardi Gras scholarship fundraiser for DelTech at the Wilmington Campus.  We had a great time.

On Sunday the 9th I attended the Newark Senior Center’s annual Empty Bowls program, which benefits their Meals on Wheels program.  The place was packed, and the soups were delicious.  On Tuesday I drove to Dover to join the Joint Finance Committee hearing, at which they considered spending requests from the Department of Corrections, and from the DE State Housing Authority.  That evening I met with Representative John Kowalko, and I attended the monthly meeting of the 23rd Representative District Democratic Committee, at Downes Elementary.  On Wednesday morning I joined a conference call discussing how we will be addressing needed campaign finance reform, and had lunch with a friend from the Medical Society of Delaware.  On Friday morning I toured the Christiana Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where I learned a lot.  This morning I attended a portion of the all-day enrollment lottery process for Newark Charter School.

By email I have been pretty busy in the past two weeks.  I submitted a letter to the planning commission, asking them to deny a zoning change request for a property at the corner of Dallam and Hillside, from residential to commercial.  At their meeting on the 4th they recommended that the zoning change be denied.  I arranged a date to shadow the principal at Shue Medill Junior High, however snow cancelled school that day, so we will reschedule.

I reached out to a staffer with US Senator Chris Coons, to research the disability claim of a homeless individual I met at one of Newark’s many Code Purple nights.

I have had many discussions regarding the proposed data center/power plan on the UD STAR campus, including a passionate interchange during the monthly coffee, and several related to manufactured housing communities.  I have also begun to research how widespread the ‘incidental’ and ‘accessory use’ language is in other Delaware city’s laws/code/regulations.

I have had discussions on many outstanding bills—one on land surveyors (HB 196), one on direct wine shipments (HB 60), one on prohibiting minors to purchase e-cigarettes (HB 138), one on conditional drivers licenses for those with minor drug offenses who need to drive to attend school or job training (HB 229).  I am working with Senator Bethany Hall-Long and Representative Becky Walker on a joint resolution to proclaim March to be National Nutrition Month, as requested by the Delaware Dietetic Association.

The policy subcommittee of the midwifery workgroup has been making good progress in sharing thoughts and concerns on how Delaware can best design a program of licensure of professional midwives to assist in homebirths.  The next public meeting is on Tuesday evening, March 11th.

I have had discussions on this year’s budget, including the gas tax proposed by the Governor.  This was a lively portion of the discussion at my monthly coffee.  I prepared a one-page summary of notable changes in the operational budget, and shared it with members of the Joint Finance Committee, to provide them with one additional resource to utilize during their hard work this winter/spring.  I have also worked with Representative Dennis E Williams on his proposal for an improved infrastructure spending program.

On Thursday I worked with Newark City Councilperson Mark Morehead to ensure that I understood (and shared with others through Facebook and Twitter) the state of snow plowing by the city staff, and also to provide feedback to the city.  Thanks, Mark!