Thursday, May 28, 2009


Sorry about this. The Listening session on June 1st is being held by Republican US Rep. Mike Castle, not Democratic US Senator Tom Carper.

I was mis-informed, and yesterday I passed this misinformation onto you.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Progressive Update--05/26/2009

Howard Dean in Wilmington 5/29/09—Howard Dean will be hosting a townhall meeting on health care reform this Friday, the 29th, from 3-5pm, at the DE Building Trades Hall, on 911 New Road, Wilmington, DE 19805. This is a great opportunity to meet past governor, presidential candidate, and DNC Chair Howard Dean, to learn about the party’s current thoughts on health care reform, and to share yours.
State Party Convention—It has been a few weeks since the convention in Dover. I was both pleased and disappointed. I wrote up many of my thoughts leading up to it, and afterwards, at the blog
Carper is Listening—You don’t have to be a credit card company lobbyist to speak with our disappointing Senator Tom Carper on Monday June 1st. Come to a Health Care Listening Session on the 1st from 10am to 11:30am, at the Eugene du Pont Preventative Medicine and Rehabilitation Institute, 3506 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807.
Open Government—House Bill 1 (HB1) will come up for a vote in the Senate next month, due to 11 senators with a backbone who voted to suspend the rules and end the bill’s confinement to the Senate Executive Committee. Please urge your senator to vote in favor of HB1, which will open much (but not all) of our General Assembly to FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act.
Equal Rights for All—State wide—House Bill 5 (HB5) would make it illegal in Delaware to discriminate based on sexual orientation, for housing, employment, insurance, etc. We are hoping to get 11 senators with a backbone to sign a petition to bring it out of the Senate Executive Committee on June 2nd (or to vote to suspend the rules to bring it out—either way is fine). I hear that nine have already signed. So how can you help?
Right now, go to, enter your address or nine-digit zip, and you’ll get your senator’s name and phone number, and a sample script to use when you call them, today!
If you are a member of a faith community in Delaware, go to, and see if your leader (pastor, rabbi, etc) has already signed the clergy statement of support. If not, ask them to do so.
Equal Rights for All—Newark—There are several equal rights issues before city council. On June 8th, the domestic partner benefit rule change will be discussed (and decided?) at the 7:30pm meeting. At that meeting the most likely rule being decided would provide domestic partners who are city employees the same rights as married couples (funeral/emergency leave, and flexible spending accounts). The council should hear from city residents, employees, and other supportive community members by June 8th.
Prison Reform—House Bill 168 (HB168) was introduced in the house two weeks ago. As with HB1 and HB5, HB168’s purpose has been brought unsuccessfully before the General Assembly several times. We hope that the current makeup of the house and senate will enable us to get this passed. HB168 will repeal mandatory sentences for certain drug offenses, and restore flexibility to the courts. It will permit the judge to determine the best sentence, given the full circumstances.
One of the biggest problems in prison reform is that many past offenders return to prison—there is a high recidivism rate. Governor Markell has issues Executive Order #7, with a broad approach to reduce recidivism. Check out to learn more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Delaware State Party Convention Recap--05/19/2009

High points--the platform and resolutions were wonderful, in no small part to the progressives who served on these two key committees. Their requested and approved ongoing role is also refreshing. I'll take Ted Kaufman over Carper any day of the week, and certainly twice on Saturday.
In the election of John Daniello as party chair, it is clear that we progressives hold much less than a majority of the current state Democratic party. As such, I consider it all the more impressive that we had such an effective presence in the platform and the resolutions committee, and in their results. While I am disappointed that we did not have a ‘clean progressive’ to run for state chair, or for the other state-wide party offices this month, I am hopeful that we will in 2013.
Low points--there are several. Chief amongst them was the bumbling straw poll to avoid the embarrassing disclosure that we may have two Democrats who wish to serve as party chair. That is sarcasm—I have yet to understand why our party leaders feel that it is embarrassing to have two Democrats running for a single post.
Every time Daniello opened his mouth he demonstrated how he is an awful choice for the party going forward. He makes me wonder why we spend so much time stating that Thurman Adams is the top Democrat to be embarrassed with.
Most disappointing, however, is the platform (believe it or not). It makes clear the wide moat between core principles of our party, and the principles of many of our state legislators, most notably Adams and DeLuca. We need for the platform and party to have teeth, to have the party refuse to endorse (and fund) any candidate who refuses to endorse ALL of the party platform.
Resolutions are at
Platform is at
To get a copy of the state party rules, send an email to Katie Ellis at HQ,
Daniello supporters—A part of me was disappointed in the endorsement of Daniello’s candidacy by some prominent DE progressives. In retrospect, as long as each endorsement was a private endorsement (and each was), and not the endorsement by the PDD organization, I have NO PROBLEM with it. While serving on the PDD endorsement committee last year, we sometimes had to choose amongst two non-progressive candidates. One candidate, however, may have been considered by us to be one who was more capable than the other, and one with whom we felt PDD would be better able to work. This, however, was not sufficient, and we typically did not endorse those candidates. For PDD to endorse a political candidate, they should be demonstrably supportive of all critical progressive ideals.
John Daniello and Brian McGlinchy each fail this test. That is not an opinion, that is a fact. Each, for instance, supports gerrymandered redistricting (reapportionment). That violates our approved state party platform, and it violates PDD ideals (perhaps our second current initiative, after FOIA, open government). Rebecca Young cannot claim Daniello to be a 100% progressive candidate, nor can John Kowalko claim Brian McGlinchy to be a 100% progressive candidate. Each was/is flawed. Rebecca and John each considered both candidates and came to an individual decision to support the candidate which they felt would be best, albeit they selected different candidates. That is fine. That is democracy, and I celebrate that. However, the PDD, the Progressive Democrats of Delaware did NOT endorse either candidate, and that is also something to celebrate.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Delaware State Party Convention Tomorrow--05/15/2009

There are some interesting items coming before the convention tomorrow, not least of which is the selection of a state party chair. I have spent the week listening to supporters of each (and speaking directly to Brian). I grudgingly remain undecided, with a leaning towards Brian. Keep in mind that John Daniello has burned a lot of bridges in my book, his lack of support for progressive Democratic candidates and legislators is one bridge, the Carney/Markell and other endorsement fiascos of 2008 being another, and his back-door style being the third.
That said, there are claims of unattractive past political behavior by Brian, and I have yet to meet him face-to-face. I hope to have the chance to chat with him tomorrow morning. If he fails to pass the smell test, then I will not vote for him. However, I can’t currently envision voting FOR John Daniello. My real hope is that a third, progressive, candidate comes forth, and I can vote FOR proudly.
There are two threads in the current Delaware Liberal website, from contributors explaining why they lean to one candidate or another. Go to for an undecided contributor’s thread, and go to for a contributor who is leaning towards John.
The state party chair isn’t the only piece of business. For that matter, while the other races appear to be currently uncontested, there can be nominations from the floor.
Another issue is a proposal to call for the President to ask the Justice Department to investigate the use of torture in the past 8 years. I believe that there are LBGT (lesbian bisexual gay and transgender) issues that are part of the proposed state party platform, to be voted upon, or that will come up as motions.
If you are a delegate (and actually the convention is open to all state registered Democrats), come on down to Dover tomorrow. It should be a good show.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Delaware State Party Chair--05/12/2009

The saga continues. I really encourage you to read the full thread on this at . The opinions are varied, and quite deeply felt.

I understand that the chair of the 23rd RD, Mike Gritz, backs the chairmanship of John Daniello. In an earlier post Brian McGlinchey told me that Mike could 'vouch' for him. Apparently this doesn't go so far as to include supporting his candidacy.

On a different topic, the state convention on Saturday will include discussion/decision on the state party platform. I understand that there will be a proposal to include opposition to discrimination based not only on sexual orientation, but also on gender identity and expression, and another proposal to include support for 'relationship recognition for all, regardless of sexual orientation.' I support both of these proposals, and encourage other delegates to also support them.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Delaware State Party Chair--05/11/2009--Part Deux

go to for a further exploration of the criticism of McGlinchey as being tighter to labor than the Democrats.

To you delegates, do some homework before Saturday morning.

Delaware State Party Chair--05/11/2009

Brian McGlinchey has recently announced that he is running (against incumbent John Daniello) for state party chair. The convention, in which this will be decided, is Saturday in Dover. I am a delegate from the 23rd RD west Newark district.

I spoke with Brian for about 5 or 10 minutes (he emailed me a few minutes after I had emailed him—in his email he encouraged me to call him). During the call, he appeared focused and honest, well-spoken, organized, and prepared.

On the ‘past support of Republican’ charge, he notes that he never contributed to nor walked for Republicans, ever. His union is a member of the AFLCIO, and he is the public policy chairman/legislative chairman (presumably of the DE chapter). The DE AFLCIO endorsed 62 candidates (state senators and reps) for the 2008 election, 3 of which are Republicans, two of which lost. Brian was a delegate to their meeting (convention) in which the slate was approved. Brian has stated his plan to have the third (the Republican who won in November, Bill Oberle) defeated in 2010.

Brian suggests that I speak with Mike Gritz (23rd RD Chair), who knows him well.
If he was playing me, he does it well.

Given my disgust for Daniello’s past practices, at this point I am leaning to supporting Brian McGlinchey on Saturday. I look forward to meeting him in person on Saturday, and hearing him speak. I also plan to talk with Mike Gritz, and to Jerry Grant.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Progressive Update--5/8/2009

Much has happened in the past week.
Open Government—House Bill 1 (HB1) was released from committee to the full Senate on May 6th. Let your senator know that you expect them to vote FOR House Bill 1 when it gets a vote. This bill will open legislative meetings (except caucuses and emails) to the public, by putting it under FOIA, the freedom of information act.
Equality in Delaware— HB5 would make it illegal to discriminate on housing, employment, or insurance, on the basis of sexual orientation. HB5 is sitting in the Senate Executive Committee (Adams chair, Blevins, Cook, DeLuca, Simpson, and Sorenson), and is getting a hearing this Wednesday, the 13th, at 1:30pm, in the full Senate Chamber. Let’s pack the chamber, and let the committee know that the time has come for equality for all. The action needed now is to attend the hearing and/or reach out to those six senators and ask that they release HB5 onto the full Senate. If the committee fails to release the bill to the full senate for a vote, we will still plan to petition this bill out of committee on June 2nd, Petition Day, after the bill has been stuck in committee for the ‘required’ 16 legislative days.
I am initially surprised that there will be a hearing, as I expected Adams to keep the bill in his desk drawer, where this type of bill has been banished for years. I consider this a victory for representative government. Years of testimony to deaf legislators has resulted in a softening of the walls of our conservative state Senate. Let’s finish the job and get it voted out of committee, and if not, petitioned!
Newark Alderman’s Court—I wrote about this last month. The bill is out of committee since April 1st, and awaits a full senate vote. Please ask your senator to vote against this bill. See my prior posting for details on it. Let your senator and representative know that Newark’s Alderman’s court works just fine, and don’t break it—oppose SB42.
Equality in Newark—Newark City Council will not be hearing the proposed LBGT protection proposal at its Monday May 11th meeting. I will share more information as it becomes available.
State Budget—The state of Delaware’s next year budget is a hot topic of discussion. Governor Jack Markell offered a proposed budget with revenue increases and spending cuts. One of the most publicized cuts was an across-the-board 8% salary cut for state workers, along with passing onto state workers more of the cost of health benefits.
State Representative John Kowalko has offered for consideration a set of alternatives, that would reduce, if not eliminate, the need to focus $91 million of cuts on the backs of state workers. His proposals are generally pretty progressive, striving to spread the belt-tightening more fairly across the state. Go to to see his explanation. It includes more details at If you agree with it, or with some of its points, let your state Representative and state Senator (and Governor) know.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Progressive Update--5/1/2009

There are several items which are on the front burner in the coming weeks.

Open Government—House Bill 1 (HB1) is getting a hearing. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it is before the Senate Executive Committee (led by Thurman Adams). Other members are Blevins, Cook, DeLuca, Simpson, and Sorenson. The hearing is set for Wednesday the 6th at 2pm. Make it if you can, and contact your senator if you can’t. This bill will open legislative meetings (except caucuses and emails) to the public, by putting it under FOIA, the freedom of information act.

Equality in Delaware—HB5 is sitting in the same committee, with little chance of a hearing. It would make it illegal to discriminate on housing, employment, or insurance, on the basis of sexual orientation. The plan is to petition this bill to the full senate floor on June 2nd, Petition Day, after the bill has been stuck in committee for the ‘required’ 16 legislative days. Please contact your senator to ask them to sign the petition on June 2nd to bring House Bill 5 to the senate floor, for a vote.

Consider a simple message such as `My name is ____ and I live at _________. You are my senator. House Bill 5 helps provide essential civil rights to more Delawareans. If HB5 does not emerge from committee by June 2nd, will you sign a petition on June 2nd to bring it to the senate floor? I hope that you will join me in supporting equal rights for all. Thank you.'

Newark Alderman’s Court—I wrote about this last month. The bill is out of committee, and awaits a full senate vote. Please ask your senator to vote against this bill.

Senate Bill 42 (SB42), from Tony DeLuca, at first glance appears well-intentioned—let defendants from Newark’s Alderman’s Court have the right to be heard at Wilmington’s Court of Common Pleas. Why do folks (including myself) oppose SB42? Newark and Newark Alderman’s court is unique in the state—and it works. We are the only Delaware city with a college that doubles our population for a majority of the year, and our Alderman’s Court is the only one in the state with a lawyer who serves (with senate approval) as chief alderman. Newark therefore gets a boatload of minor noise, disturbing the peace, and traffic violations (thousands a year), which we deal with right in Newark. Defendants avoid the need (and expense) to go to Wilmington, and so do our police officers. Moving this caseload to Wilmington is wasteful (reducing our police officers’ time on the streets, and further overburdening the Wilmington courts). Defendants already have the right to appeal all judgments of more than $100 to Wilmington courts. Note that the sponsors do not have constituents in downtown Newark—it is the moral equivalent of having Newark’s Senator Liane Sorenson sponsor a bill to double the parking meters in Rehobeth. SB42 appears to be retaliation by DeLuca for the city’s resolution favoring open government in the General Assembly, a direction that DeLuca detests. Let your senator and representative know that Newark’s Alderman’s court works just fine, and don’t break it—oppose SB42.

Equality in Newark—I believe that the Monday May 11th city council meeting will include a review of the proposed LBGT protection provisions which came up in March, with great community support. If you live in the city of Newark, please either attend the meeting, or let your council person and mayor know that you support equal rights for city residents and employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Go to to see the council member listing.