2014 Update—November 23rd to December 6th

As pictured, on Sunday the 22nd I attended a dedication celebrating contributions to Delaware Ducks Unlimited at the Mike Castle Trail.  I joined a conference call with the board of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence on the 24th.  On the 25th I attended a meeting in Dover of the Education Funding Flexibility Task Force, and afterwards hosted a meeting at Panera with a friend who wanted to speak with staff from DHSS to share disappointing experiences they had witnessed with a local substance abuse facility.  I spoke with a member of Temple Beth El, on my expectation of legislative matters for the upcoming General Assembly session.  I met with a friend from Girl Scouts on Wednesday the 26th to discuss the various processes for applying for state government assistance with their upcoming building campaign.  On Friday the 28th I met with the founder of Yes U Can USA, Center for Adapted Sports, Fitness, and Recreation, to learn more about their mission and programs.

On Monday the 1st I attended an information session on the DPAS II (DE Performance Appraisal System II) program by the DE Department of Education.  Later on Monday I met with State Senator Bethany Hall-Long, attended an open house at Delcastle Vo-Tech, the annual holiday reception by the Delaware Coalition for Open Government, and ended the evening at the monthly meeting of the 23rd RD Democratic committee.  On Wednesday morning I started with my monthly coffee at Panera, and then attended the press event for the ACLU-Delaware, which filed a complaint with the US Office of Civil Rights, regarding the segregation in our public schools.  That evening I attended a Yes U Can USA fundraising event, and then attended the monthly Progressive Democrats for Delaware (PDD) meeting.  On Thursday I attended a monthly meeting on Newark-area homelessness, met with a DelDOT staff member to address a drainage problem on Valley Road, and ended the day at the Community meeting to discuss the proposed CVS development project at the intersection of Paper Mill and Corner Ketch Roads.  On Friday I attended a memorial for Bob Stachnik, a district resident, friend, co-founder of PDD, and just all-around wonderful person, and later had a phone call with a member of the Big Push, a pro-midwifery rights advocacy group.

I have had some discussions on traffic matters, including the Casho Mill Road railroad underpass, and the light at Veterans Lane/South Main Street.

I have worked a little on an issue for residents of Starr Road, which DelDOT will no longer be plowing, to share options available to them this winter, and on an issue for residents of Phillip Mill, which would like for their roads to be adopted by the city of Newark for maintenance.  I have reached out to support the Newark Emergency Center’s request for a higher level of reimbursement than are due to facilities with fewer mandated services.

I am working to get purple flags and lights to highlight Code Purple nights in the city of Newark.  Our local homeless group, and the DE State Housing Authority are working hard to pilot this here in Newark, partially patterned after what is done in Kent and Sussex counties.

I verified for a resident who is a state employee that the raise which we passed earlier this year is a $500 annual increase for work performed starting January 1st, and so they should see their gross by-weekly income rise by $19.23, staring in mid/late January.

I am working on legislation on many issues, including reducing the minimum size for a restaurant, partially to enable a local restaurant to be eligible to serve wine.

I have been working with colleagues and advocates for a constitutional amendment convention, who hope to adopt a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision.  Thus far, I am concerned that such a convention can become a ‘runaway convention,’ with unintended, and undesirable amendments adopted.  I continue to work to see if adequate safeguards can be incorporated.

I have joined colleagues in one letter supporting the continued operations of the Gateway Lab School, which serves a large proportion of students with special needs, and I have submitted my own letter in support.

I am still waiting for the executive branch to meet with me to explore alternative paths to increase our infrastructure spending (road, bridges, schools, etc), while improving our financial management.  I hope for a meeting within a week or two.