ViewPoint

Frankford must maintain safety momentum

When Frankford Police Chief William Dudley formally announced his retirement recently, many in the community became somewhat concerned.

Dudley, and his fellow officer, Nate Hudson, were often seen patrolling the streets of Frankford, acting as a deterrant to criminal activity and genuinely offering a sense of peace to many in the town through their presence. Dudley was also active in the Town’s new park, helping provide a safe place for people to get out and enjoy a day or get some exercise.

Things appeared to be much better in Frankford as far as crime went, and that goes a long way to improving everyone’s quality of life.

Then word came out this week that Hudson had submitted his resignation from the Frankford Police Department, and you can easily see why some in Frankford are concerned. Couple that with rumors that the Town might be moving forward without their own police department, and speculation began to run rampant. However, it does not look like all is lost, Frankfordians.

“It is very important for us to keep our residents in this town safe,” said Cowncilwoman Cheryl Workman. “We need police patrols in this town... We need our own town police.”

Workman also said the Town would indeed be advertising for someone to fill Hudson’s position.

We won’t begin to speculate why Hudson chose to leave Frankford’s police force, but it does leave the Town with an important role to fill. If officials are indeed committed to maintaining the police department, it is imperative that they make two smart hires here to keep the quality community policing efforts Dudley and Hudson performed part of the Town’s profile.

It has seemingly worked, and, at the least, it has provided a sense of security for many in Frankford to see their protectors actively patrolling their streets. We have heard directly from people in Frankford who feel safer these days. That’s important.

How about we cut some people a little slack?

Date Published: 
January 30, 2015

Waking up Tuesday morning to a car that was not covered in a blanket of snow was more than just a little bit of a relief. For one thing, I was worried the night before about some of our employees who have to travel a pretty significant distance to get to work. For another, I was concerned that I was going to have to dig my way out of a coccoon of snow.

And I don’t like to dig. Or bend over. Or, sweat, for that matter.

Regardless, there was a song in my heart as I got ready for work that morning, and I settled down with a nice cup of coffee and my iPad to catch up on some news before I headed into the office. Going through a few social media sites, one thing became instantly apparent: I would not want to be a local weather forecaster.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, people were furious at meteorologists because there wasn’t as much snow as expected. It was as if some of our local weather prognosticators climbed aboard magical flying unicorns and aimed them high into the atmosphere before firing off specially-crafted arrows at the clouds to shift the weather patterns and make their forecasts useless to all who took them seriously.

Diabolical people, arent they?

Look, I’m no weatherman, and I didn’t even stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume the last thing they want to do on a professional level is give the wrong information. They take the data available to them, utilize their formidable education and knowledge, and make a prediction based on those variables to try to help the rest of us decide if we have to bring an umbrella to work or not.

When you think about it, the fact that they’re usually pretty close in their prognostications is pretty remarkable. It’s not like they’re giving you tips on your NFL parlay ticket. They are telling you what they believe Mother Nature is whipping up in her mind. Have you ever tried to figure out what’s going on in a woman’s mind before? It’s like...

It’s probably best I just stop right there. [News Editor’s Note: Yes. It is.]

It’s a pretty thankless job, all things considered. It’s not like many people call the weatherman to thank him or her for the heads-up on a weather event when the weatherman is correct, which is a high percentage of the time. And then you must consider that they often find themselves standing in the middle of the most disgusting weather this planet sees while covered in electronic equipment and gleeful viewers hope to see something embarrassing happen to them on live television. No, thank you.

Of course, there are many, many jobs out there that require people taking immense blame for things they can’t control.

Have you ever seen a server at a restaurant get lit up by an unhappy customer because the steak was undercooked or because the food is not ready yet or the price was more than was expected? Do you think that was the server’s fault?

Do you think it was the lady’s fault at the customer service desk at the airport that your flight is running late, or that there aren’t any more flights heading to your destination that night, or that the nuts served on your flight were stale?

Is it the person’s fault at the front desk at the cable company that the service person was late for a scheduled appointment, or that some channels are coming in fuzzy? Or, do you believe that they are the ones who created the unfair policy that you are just hearing about, so you decide to give him or her a piece of your mind?

Is it the teenager’s fault at the movie theater box office window when the movie is sold out when you get there to buy a ticket, or that the theater is not running the movie you feel like seeing?

Is it the charming editor’s fault when a story in the newspaper has inaccurate information or the tone of the story takes an apparent side in its delivery so as to coerce the reader into believing one side over the other?

Yes. Actually, yes, that is precisely the editor’s fault. Let’s forget I brought that one up, if you will.

My general point here (aside from looking for a way to inject a flying unicorn into a column) is that we live in a society that is quick to point a finger and cast blame the moment anything goes wrong in our lives. Are we that precious as individuals that we see it as a personal affront whenever a snag happens to our plans?

Sometimes, things happen.

So, maybe we can give the weather guy a break now and then when his forecast isn’t perfect, or ask someone who is serving us why there’s a delay instead of instantly attacking. Those people are people, too, right?

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor — January 30, 2015

The ‘Ghost Bike’ left an impression

Editor:

On a recent trip to Baltimore, we stayed with our daughter, who lives in the city’s Roland Park neighborhood. Turning into her road, we noticed a white bike, flowers streaming over its frame. Obviously, it was a memorial, though quite different than those seen on the roadside. An unusual and poignant sight.

Known as the “ghost bike,” we quickly learned that it symbolizes the tragic death of a well-known cyclist and designer-builder of custom bikes. The cyclist, experienced and revered in the biking community, was struck from behind by a vehicle, thrown onto the car’s hood and into the road. His death brought an immediate outpouring of grief for his family and concern for cyclists’ safety. Investigation of the accident is ongoing.

It is my hope that the ghost bike will serve as a reminder to all in Sussex County. Our roads are small and busy. When sharing the roads with cyclists, let us be alert, patient and considerate.

And let us remember the ghost bike.

William Amelia
Dagsboro

Bacon and Melson receive support

Editor:

Amid difficulties surrounding the budget and health care coverage and pensions for its’ employees, the Town of Frankford is set to elect its new town council in February 2015.

Joanne Bacon has graciously filled the president’s seat for the town council since the resignation of Jesse Truitt in June 2014. She acknowledges the position has been difficult to negotiate, given all of the turmoil that has Frankford’s citizens concerned for the future of the town.

Joanne has proven over the few short months that she has been the president of the Frankford Town Council that she is fair and interested in listening to the concerns of the townspeople. Having been the only town council member to do so, she voted against having the citizen’s privilege reduced from two to one opportunities during council meetings. She was noted as saying after that vote that she was shocked that the council would vote to silence the citizens.

Joanne has always been a very involved and vocal member of the town council, engaging the townspeople during town meetings and, as president, considering all sides of an issue before calling for a vote on a topic. It is clear that her actions are to work for the best interest of the town.

Among the citizens who have been involved in town council meetings faithfully over the past years is Velicia Melson, one of the two people chosen by citizens of Frankfordf to run for town council.

Velicia has been an active member of the group known as the “Concerned Citizens for Frankford” since the group began over the summer of 2014. “There needs to be accountability, integrity, and uniformity for the town — one rule for everybody,” she has been quoted as saying.

The Town has long been struggling with issues over budget concerns and health care coverage and pension contributions for the town employees. With more than 30 years of experience in the finance field, Velicia is well-equipped to deal with the tough decisions that come with balancing a budget. Her résumé extends to working for multinational companies, such as Marriott International in Bethesda, Md., as well as local companies such as the Delmarva Urgi-Care Center and Women’s Healthcare of Delmarva.

“The financial integrity and the health of the Town is completely unknown,” Velicia has said, also stating that one of her goals is to increase transparency of the Town for its citizens. Having had the opportunity to manage the finances for different companies has led Velicia to a place where she is uniquely positioned to lead the Town of Frankford forward. In her various positions, she has successfully increased financial collections by 70 percent, developed and implemented financial policies which decreased the number of collection accounts outstanding, and reduced insurance claims by 70 percent, improving cash flow.

Tackling such tasks requires thoughtful action, diplomacy, effective communication skills, and an acute understanding of business management and operations. Velicia exemplifies all of these.

Having been born in Frankford and raised with her parents in the military, Velicia has had the opportunity to live and work in many places, but her ties and roots are here in Frankford. She is also a member of the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary, where her focus is on community involvement.

She is community-oriented, saying, “It would be great to have committees who work to assist the town council. The committees can be made of citizens and be a place for citizens to voice their concerns, in addition to the town council meetings. The committees can work to do more for the citizens of Frankford and help communicate citizens’ concerns to the council. It will help increase town growth and help us to bring more services to the town that can benefit the residents.”

It is important to note that those who are eligible voters in the town of Frankford need to register to vote in town elections by Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. Due to the holidays, the town hall will be open on the following dates for town business and to allow for voter registration:

Your voice counts! Town elections for Frankford will be held in early February 2015, and Joanne Bacon and Velicia Melson hope to be the voice of the people of the town of Frankford.

Liz Carpenter
Frankford

Reader believes system is not working

Editor:

It is easy to follow the rhetoric of the political party which most resonates with our personal sensibilities given today’s government gridlock. Doing that limits our understanding of complex issues and our practice of civic responsibility. Congressional members of both parties to the right and the left of center politicize every issue no matter how grave or frivolous. The number of moderates is so small that common sense is powerless.

Failed policies and laws distort and/or thwart the democratic process. Democracy depends for its integrity and effectiveness on bipartisanship. It has been hijacked by an embarrassment of money, gerrymandering of voting districts and unlimited terms for elected officials, just to mention a few impediments to good governance.

A system that allows special-interest lobbyists to outnumber elected officials by more than 4 to 1 doesn’t encourage governance by, for and of the people. These are very old and very powerful strategies of war... Divide and conquer! America’s citizens appear to be losing both the battles and the war over the past 25 or so years. Perhaps we would do well to consider Native American philosophy, which looks forward to the seventh-generation future, rather than the expedient now when we enact laws and regulations.

The wealthy are not the villains. A tax code so complex and loophole-ridden and which favors dollars from investing gains over earned income is a real problem. As a retiree with modest investments, I am OK with the current tax rate on earnings. My children and grandchildren, who work hard and have little to invest… not so much! Middle-class families are getting pulverized, and that has consequences for the economy both today and tomorrow.

From the 1940s to the 1970s, worker productivity rose about 45 percent and wages rose about 41 percent. Since then, productivity rose another 40-plus percent, but income rose only about 17 percent, and both political parties had their hands on the controls at various times during that period.

In 1973, America had an historic low of 11.1 percent poverty rate. Poverty rates rose to an official 15.1 percent in 2009, the first full year after the Great Recession. The official rate understates the number of people who actually fall below the poverty line at any given time. For example, during 2008-2009, 32.2 percent of Americans fell below the poverty line for at least one month.

Income is the greatest driver of higher poverty rates. A study of the period 1979 to 2007 found that the single most powerful factor in overall rise in the poverty rate is income inequality. Income inequality accounted for 5.5 percent of the rate. In the same period, changing racial composition accounted for a mere 0.9 percentage point increase, and single-mother heads of household accounted for 1.4 percent of the rate.

On a positive note, the same study shows that increased educational attainment decreased poverty rates 2.7 percent, and income growth decreased the rise in poverty rate by 3.8 percent. Does this not suggest we really should spend more of our national treasure on education and raise the minimum wage? The bulk of the gains in our currently slow healing economy have gone to the already very rich. There can be no dispute about an un-level playing field for the 98 to 99 percent of Americans.

The references to poverty rates in the above paragraph are from the State of Working America section of the Economic Policy Institute; www.stateofworkingamerica.org. Statistics from other resources may differ in specific figures, but the trends and conclusions are essentially the same.

As to who is to who is to blame, there is more than enough to go around. Remember to include ourselves when blame gets passed around. Voting in the 25 to 30 percent range sets the stage for civil discord.

I hope every elected official who understands that Americans (and the world economy) got shafted by Wall Street greed must keep sounding the clarion of alarm about “banks too big to fail.” It certainly was not only those who had stock in banks and the auto industry who got shafted. The end... that we got paid back with interest … does not justify the means. That, although the banks may have been within the law when they sliced and diced mortgages and sold them, they knew they were worthless.

It says volumes about inadequate laws and regulations. When the Glass-Steagall Act, which was enacted in 1933, was dropped from bank regulations in 1999, it set the stage for a debacle. Part of what that act did was to forbid banks from using taxpayer money to fund risky investments. It separated commercial and investment banking, which helped to avoid conflict of interest. It also offered some consumer safety.

In the interim, regulators and bankers got cozy. Enforcing the Dodd-Frank Act, which was a bipartisan effort and which was designed to rein in some of the most egregious activity of monster banks, has been held off for five years, and the banking industry is lobbying for another five-year reprieve.

Their rationale for the request is that the regulation is too costly to implement; this while bank profits soar! The big banks are still nurturing slight wounds from the slap on the hand that the bailout required and are now only slicing and dicing insurance policies. Perhaps Main Street will take another big hit.

Patricia Frey
Dagsboro

Women’s club looking for phone books

Editor:

In the past few years, I have been trying to gather, update and archive any and all information regarding the GFWC Zwaanendael Women’s Club located on Third and Savanah Road in Lewes. I assembled all known information and archived at the Lewes Historical Society and in the Delaware Room of the Lewes Library.

However, as part of the collection at the Lewes Historical Society some of the phone directories are missing. I believe someone has them in their attic or basement long forgotten. Missing are 1962-63, 1968-69, 1969-70 and 1972-74. If anyone has these phone books, please drop them off at the Lewes Historical Society.

The Club published them and distributed them free of charge to the community. The 59th Edition was their last one (2013-2014). The Club would, in the past, use the phone book as a fundraiser, selling advertisements. After careful consideration, it was decided that the cost of producing the book outweighed the profit.

The mission of the GFWC Zwaanendael’ s Women’s Club of Lewes is to support the International General Federation of Women’s Clubs by supporting their local community through volunteering their time and resources to those members of our community in need. Should any women be interested in joining this long-standing club, please contact them at P.O. Box 100, Lewes, DE 19958.

B.J. Young
GFWC Zwaanendael Club