2014 Update—November 8th to 22nd

On Monday the 10th I attended a legislative update by Christina School District on the Priority Schools initiative proposed by the Governor and state Department of Education.  That evening I attended the monthly meeting of the 23rd district Democratic committee, and I spoke before the Newark city council.  On Tuesday the 11th I attended the commemoration of Veterans Day at the Veterans Memorial Park near the Delaware Memorial Bridge.  On the 12th I attended the Deferred Compensation committee at the Treasurer’s office, where the state employees’ 403b and 457 plans are reviewed.  On the 13th I met for breakfast with a constituent who has a complaint with how a past state law affected him.  I met with Mayor Sierer on the morning of the 14th, and attended the ribbon cutting of the McKees Solar Park off Cleveland Avenue that afternoon.

On Monday the 17th I met with a researcher from Harvard to discuss education policy in Delaware, and that evening attended the House Democratic Caucus to meet the two new members, Sean Lynn and Sean Matthews, and to select our three leaders.  Tuesday the 18th was a marathon.  I attended a four hour Homelessness council at Buena Vista, later drove to Dover for the monthly meeting of the Student Retention and Social Promotion task force (which I chair), then drove back north for a two hour death penalty reform panel, and stopped by the United Methodist Church in Newark, which was hosting the first Code Purple night (providing “A place of refuge for our neighbors in need”).  On Wednesday morning the 19th I attended the annual breakfast for Delaware’s Special Olympics, and where Senator Bryan Townsend talked Pam and me into agreeing to take the Polar Bear Plunge on February 1st.  On the 20th I attended the announcement of collaboration this year between the 87ers and Elena Delle Donne, then attended a meeting with area legislators and city staff to discuss utility rates, and that evening attended the annual dinner of Delaware’s Common Cause, a wonderful bi-partisan good government group that has been around for over 40 years.  On Friday I taped two segments of the Comcast Newsmakers program, and that evening attended a thank-you party hosted by Senator Bethany Hall-Long.

By email I verified that DNREC plans to use Brandywine Creek State Park as a pilot program to permit night-time use of the parks, by pedestrians and cyclists who can use proper lighting devices.  I am trying to stay apprised of the work on the new Delaware Land & Water Conservation Trust Fund, and am currently reviewing their draft Investment Policy Statement and their planned payout policy.  At the request of a resident, I have worked with the city of Newark, who worked with Amtrak, to improve the signage, clearly identifying where to go for north-bound and for south-bound trains.

I have worked to keep teachers apprised of the compensation task force’s work.  The task force has established a website, caecc.us, to post presentations, meeting notices, agendas, minutes, etc.  I have asked the Newark Housing Authority to keep the Christina School District up to date on the likely school students who will be attending CSD schools next fall, from the to-be-completed Alder Creek development on Cleveland Avenue.  I have attended meetings, participated in phone calls with state Department of Education officials, to stay on top of the Priority School initiative, and to strongly encourage GOOD FAITH efforts by all parties.

I have forwarded a resident’s concern with a behavior problem on his child’s school bus.  The Christina School District promptly followed their student code of conduct policy to address this concern.

I helped ensure that the city of Newark properly addressed a resident’s concern regarding their neighbor’s failure to maintain their swimming pool.  I worked with a resident who had a deer, wounded by a hunter, die on their property.  The city of Newark was wonderful in collecting the carcass.  I also worked with residents of Starr Road, who learned recently that DelDOT will no longer plow their street of snow.  We are hoping to connect them with neighbors on a nearby street, so that they can consider pooling their resources to obtain a joint, private snow plowing contract for both of their streets.

I am working with the city of Newark to consider a resident’s request to find a way to keep their small dock accessible onto the creek behind their home, a dock that has been in place for over 20 years.  I have been working with the city of Newark and the DE Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, to identify options available to a small restaurant in Newark which is interested in offering wine to its patrons.  As it has fewer than 35 seats, this is currently prohibited in Delaware.

I continue to promote a marked improvement to how Delaware determines the amount of annual borrowing/spending is done on infrastructure (roads, bridges, schools).  The improvement is to based it on debt service, not total debt.  For this reason, more spending would be permitted when interest rates are low, and less when rates are high.  This is exactly how you and I consider the size home we can afford, and is more financially responsible than our current, decades-old, system.

I helped to establish a meeting of area legislators with staff from the city of Newark, to discuss the proposed water rate increase.

I continue to work hard on services for our homeless neighbors, including promoting awareness of, and support for, our community Code Purple program.  I am hopeful that a prominent location on Main Street will agree to be lit up purple on nights during which the Code Purple program is providing shelter for our neighbors in need, and to have multiple locations fly special purple flags on the same days/nights.

I continue to prepare to submit a midwifery reform bill in January, to continue the substantial progress that we achieved earlier this year on the need to license professional, certified non-nurse midwives, trained to provide homebirth services to mothers-to-be with low-risk deliveries, as is done across the country, and the globe.