Shorebird of the week 5-31-2007

May 31, 2007 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · 1 Comment 

Stu Musslewhite at the plate in a recent game aginst Lakewood.

Who da man? Stu da man!

On any good team, and even some not-so-good ones, there’s a guy like Stu Musslewhite. He’s the guy who you place in the open spot in the lineup knowing that you can give the normal starter a day off and not lose a whole heckuva lot on offense or defense. While Stu’s not burning up the SAL offensively, he’s not killing the Shorebirds either because his hits seem to be timely. Last season with the Shorebirds Stu was among the leaders with 53 RBI’s, quietly racking up decent numbers despite only having a .237 average.

So far this season Stu has started games at third base, shortstop, and behind the plate. One game he caught was a complete seven-inning game (a 3-hitter) by Brad Bergesen so obviously he’s learned a bit about catching in his short time there. (Last season he played almost exclusively infield.) Unfortunately, all that bouncing around may be affecting his plate performance since he’s hitting just .194 thus far in 39 games. Strangely enough, Perdue Stadium is killing his average as he’s only 6-for-56 at home, while he’s a very respectable .265 hitter away from Delmarva.

Hopefully Stu can get the bat going in front of the home folks and bring that average up to a better level. With this onetime TCU product turning 25 later this season, it may be put up or shut up time for him careerwise.

Tax referendum petition update (and comments)

May 30, 2007 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Politics · 6 Comments 

Under the category of “let the people decide”, which I also used for my 2006 election links, I got the same e-mail as many of my fellow Salisbury-area bloggers did. Thanks Donna.

According to the note, the petitioners will be out on Thursday (tomorrow), Friday, and Saturday at the front entrance of the Wicomico County Youth and Civic Center. Petitions will be available from 7-9 a.m. and 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. each day as well as 5-7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

Just as a reminder, by signing the petition you are only allowing the measure to be placed before the voters.

Thus, it does NOT mean you’re stiffing the firemen or police officers of a raise if you sign the petition, nor does it mean that the zoo, the so-called “heart and soul” of Salisbury, will have its staffing number slashed if you place your John Hancock on the line. It just means you have a choice in the matter and the tax increase can be debated on its merits, whether the additional costs out of the pocket of Salisbury residents, both homeowners and renters, are justified for the amount of services that are provided by the additional revenue.

Personally, I think Debbie Campbell and Terry Cohen have taken more than enough crap for simply questioning the wisdom of the mayor’s budget overall and some of the specific line items within, particularly the blind support of the Salisbury Zoo exhibited by many at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. I’m sorry, Eleanor Mulligan, but certain departments have more fat or less of a priority than others so the axe falls most sharply on those areas. It’s the same regardless of government level.

I also have a bone to pick with John Robinson regarding the zoo’s economic impact. Until someone can prove that more than 200,000 people attend the zoo over a year, I still contend the Shorebirds have as much if not more economic impact than the zoo does. While both draw heavily from the local area, I contend that the Shorebirds are more of a “destination” because I know fans from the close-by visiting teams like Hagerstown and Lakewood make the trip here – even a few Lake County fans attended the last homestand. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ward Museum didn’t draw more people from farflung areas than the zoo does.

(Odd thought – how about the zoo as a branch of a college-level program in animal-related fields? It would be sort of like the agricultural research center that’s west of town.)

But back on topic here. So far we’ve had a vast tax-wing conspiracy going on. First Barrie came out against it, then the cops harassed the petitioners at the Salisbury Festival, the Daily Times questioned the wisdom of the petition drive, and this week those folks got a nice twofer by using the emotional appeal of Debbie Campbell (the red-headed stepchild of City Council) playing the Wicked Witch of the West by throwing helpless zoo animals into the street.

So obviously there’s a need for more signatures, otherwise we wouldn’t have this final APB for signers. It’s unfortunate that I don’t live in the city anymore because I’d sign it and distribute it – however, I’m of the understanding I can’t.

We have a 17 percent property tax increase and $800 office chairs on one side, and prudent cuts made so priority items may still be fully funded on the other. Salisbury, use your brain. Allow it to work your pen hand and sign the petition!

Social Security blowback

May 30, 2007 · Posted in 50 Year Plan, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Personal stuff, Politics · Comments Off on Social Security blowback 

There’s a comment that I want to respond to but the point is too important to bury in my comments section. So I guess it’s back to politics for a bit.

“Myndful” has been a critic of my Social Security plan, which is fine. I wrote it off the cuff, almost as a conversation starter about a possible solution I see to the problems inherent in the program. But he (or she, I’m not sure) made this statement as part of the last comment:

“I tend to agree that social security as a retirement insurance program needs to be rethought. But going back to my comment about my age group (late 20’s) – how many people my age do you think have seriously thought about supporting themselves 40 years down the road?”

There’s two responses I have to this portion of the comment. Number one, by sunsetting the program over the amount of time I’m proposing it’s not like they’re not going to get fair warning. And how many young people already have an inkling that Social Security isn’t going to be around for them anyway? We hear on a regular basis that the program’s going to go into the tank in 2040 or whatever year they decide sounds scary but far-off enough to plug the latest “fix.” So this is my idea for a solution, and for most young people it’s just going to make what they’ve thought all along a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My other response is actually going to lead me into part of my next chapter in the 50 year plan, because I was planning on talking about fiscal responsibility – moreso on a governmental level but to some extent on the personal level.

Maybe I had a bit more of a head on my shoulders than most late 20’s types but I was already attempting to put money away for my retirement. Unfortunately, I also had a spouse who enjoyed having a lot of “stuff” and I could never put away a good sum of money until much later. (To be fair, we also bought a house in that time and used a chunk of my retirement money as a down payment.) Each time I tried I ended up having to withdraw the money I’d squirreled away. So I really didn’t get a good start on my retirement until about 8 years ago, in my mid 30’s.

But I look at the “bling” that kids in their 20’s spend their money on and it makes me shake my head. If they took 10% of what they spent on tricking up their little Hondas or buying games for their PlayStation and salted it away, they wouldn’t miss it but it would add up over time, not to mention keep their credit card payments at bay.

“Myndful” also noted:

“Making a sweeeping (sic) statement like ‘drop social security’ is all well and good, but what are you offering instead?”

My copy of the Constitution says not a thing about the federal government securing retirement. However, if a state wanted to get into that business, it’s up to them. An obvious example is where Alaska already distributes oil royalty payments to certain citizens – they could easily recast it as a retirement program and set up accounts for each resident. And we all know Maryland Democrats would have the attitude that you really don’t need the 12% that FICA takes out anyway and they’d likely try to vacuum it out of your wallet to set up a state program after the demise of the federal one is enacted. I’d fight that tooth and nail because I’m of the opinion we should try to take care of ourselves as much as we can, but Constitutionally it would be acceptable.

I have to give “Myndful” credit for making good comments that advance the post, as did the other people who gave their two cents. Really, I think I get the best comments of any of the blog sites around here, which I suppose means I have the best readers. So keep up the good work!

MBA news and notes

May 30, 2007 · Posted in Personal stuff · Comments Off on MBA news and notes 

Hadn’t done this for awhile and it’s time for something a bit different than how the city is or isn’t spending tax dollars well and other political issues. Plus I get back to sports tomorrow as it will be Shorebird of the Week time again, and it’s getting time for another standings report on Friday. So I’ll clear out this backup.

First, I’d like to again thank my Eastern Shore blogging cohorts Karen, Joe, Oceanshaman, and John from ShoreThings (at least I think it’s John anyway) for contributing to Carnival of Maryland 7. It was fun and I’ll do it again, probably in the fall. We already have Nathan Vogel of TalkLab (one of several new members I’ve been remiss in welcoming) doing the honors for CofM8 next Sunday (June 3) and Aaron Brazell of Technosailor (which replaced an older blog of his, The Not-So-Free State) hosting CofM9 on Father’s Day. Even though the locale moves back west of the Chesapeake, I’d still like some Eastern Shore company on those carnivals.

And as I mentioned about TalkLab, we have several new members of the MBA. Creating a Jubilee County is everything you wanted to know about PG County, and more. In a similar vein, Inside Charm City discusses Baltimore-area issues.

Because the MBA has its roots in political blogging, it’s nice to get a new member who gets back to that. We’ve gotten to be wide-ranging while getting 30 members, but David at The Candid Truth doesn’t pull a lot of punches and is definitely worth reading.

The newest member is Stephanie, who writes Typing for Miles. I like her blog too, although I’m not familiar with many of the bands she writes about. (Then again, who’s heard of most of the bands I link to?) She’s a little more punk-centered while my tastes run to good old-fashioned hard rock. It’s gotta be a generational thing. And the name origin is interesting, so go check it out.

On the weekend I’ll get back to politics again unless some big news breaks. But enjoy some of my other fun stuff in the meantime.

A 50 year plan: Social Security

May 29, 2007 · Posted in 50 Year Plan · 8 Comments 

A facet of my 50 year plan that’s going to take a combination of diligence, guts, and sacrifice is embodied in what I’d like to see done with the Social Security program. I personally feel that Social Security should be sunsetted.

There. I’ve said it.

Let the AARP bitch and complain, I don’t care. I’m going to give the AARP a piece of advice – in less than 7 1/2 years I become eligible to join your organization (it is age 50, right?), but just save yourself the mailing because I’m going to tell you to drop dead.

And I know that there’s millions of people who draw a Social Security check out there, and they were promised benefits for placing their taxes in the trust of the government for all those years that they worked. One myth is that you’re only receiving the money you put into Social Security. I ran some basic numbers at the Social Security website.

A mythical person who was born on today’s date in 1945 (so he/she turns 62 and is eligible for benefits) would receive the following per month based on these income levels at his/her last full year:

  • $30,000 income would get $691 per month now, $965 per month if they retired at age 66, and $1,333 per month if they retired at age 70.
  • $60,000 income would get $1,086 per month now, $1,537 per month if they retired at age 66, and $2,147 per month if they retired at age 70.
  • $100,000 income would get $1,438 per month now, $1,980 per month if they retired at age 66, and $2,701 per month if they retired at age 70.

For this mythical example, I also found the tax rates for each year, starting with the 3.625% rate in 1963, the first year the SSA assumes earnings, and up to the current 6.2% rate in effect since 1990. (This doesn’t count the Medicare tax.)

At the $30,000 income level and retiring at age 62, it takes until 1990 (27 years) for one year’s taxes to practically equal one month’s current benefit of $691. The first month of benefit collection exceeds all of the money put in during the first 10 working years. All told in this particular case, the total taxes paid by the individual equal $27,657.11, or 40 months’ worth of benefits. If this person decides to work until age 70, the payoff is slightly shorter, about 32 months. (SSA assumes the same $30k income on out years though.) The person at the $60,000 income level has a little more room to complain because of the lower relative benefit; that mythical recipient has 51 checks come before the taxes are redeemed. Retiring at 70 bumps that down to 40 months, again assuming the same $60,000 income level.

And what of our executive drawing 100 large a year? His payoff works out to 64 months if he or she retires at age 62. Interestingly enough, Joe or Jill Executive contributes a bit less per dollar than the others because they occasionally bump into the top end of the tax scale, and it’s even moreso for the out years in the SSA formulas. Thus the payback for retiring at age 70 drops a full year to 52 months. But in any case, living past retirement and drawing Social Security for more than 5 years or so fully exhausts all of the resources placed into it by a worker. After that they are on the backs of those working right now.

As far as that goes, I found my personal Social Security report that runs through 2005. (In a month I’ll get my 2006 one.) Over 20 years of working, I’ve paid into the system $34,764. I don’t know about you, but I would’ve liked to have that extra 35 grand during the time.

In his first term President Bush introduced a measure that sort of took my idea halfway with the concept of personal accounts. Of course, the Democrats and AARP (not that there’s much difference between the two) accused President Bush of wanting to destroy Social Security. Well, go ahead and accuse me because I want to as well. The government had no business in the first place getting into retirement accounts, and much of the entitlement mentality that plagues America today can be traced back to the creation of the Social Security program.

On the other hand, there are millions upon million of Americans who put their trust into this program paying them their promised benefits upon retirement so they went on their merry free-spending way and didn’t put anything away for their future. Thus, the program has to “wither on the vine” as Newt Gingrich was accused of saying about Medicare.

The other issue with sunsetting Social Security is that the federal government takes the money that is withdrawn from your paycheck and spends it on things not associated with Social Security – and has since the late 1960’s. Part of the impending problems with the program have to do with this incessant raiding of the (so-called) “Social Security Trust Fund.” To the feds, it’s free money and I don’t believe it’s on-budget either.

So something needs to be done. I have one possible approach; granted it’s a little arbitrary but at least I’m placing an idea in the hopper that I think merits study.

Anyone who collects Social Security now or in the fairly short-term future will get full promised benefits. People of a certain age were suckered into the thought that they would have their retirement supplemented by Social Security and it wouldn’t be right to pull that rug out from under them. So I’d say those born prior to 1950 come into this group.

If you were born between 1950 and 1960, you still have several prime earning years remaining and it gives you time to sock money away in a retirement account. So at that point benefits would be lessened on a sliding scale depending on date of birth, I’d say 75% to 85% of full benefits. People in my age bracket (I was born in 1964) would have benefits decline at an accelerating rate, so eventually those born around 1980 or so would be left with zero – however, as they age and fewer and fewer receive benefits their tax rates to pay for the survivors would go down. However, they probably wouldn’t pay zero taxes for their working life as more people reach a riper old age. Someone who’s 100 years old right now has been collecting benefits for 35 years or so and more people than ever reach the century mark.

There will also have to be some sort of cutoff for survivors’ benefits, perhaps on a similar sliding scale. Obviously the insurance industry would reap some benefits from my idea, but as I said the government should’ve never gotten into the insurance business anyway.

It took over 70 years to build this behemoth we know as Social Security, so it’ll take at least two generations to restore sanity to the system. I’m counting on the next two generations to have guts and foresight in order to move the government out of a role it didn’t belong in initially.

2007 Wicomico County Memorial Day ceremony

May 28, 2007 · Posted in Delmarva items · Comments Off on 2007 Wicomico County Memorial Day ceremony 

I’m going to do this a bit differently – pictures first and text at the end. Enjoy – and remember.

As I arrived at the site, it was apparent a good crowd was on hand.

It's always a treat to see the Red Knights parked at a memorial ceremony.

It was gratifying to see pretty good attendance, but more can be present.

Tony Sarbanes served as master of ceremonies. He's a member of the Wicomico War Veterans Memorial Committee and a former county councilman.

I wasn't the only one capturing the moment.

It was nice to see the two local TV stations on hand. Too bad they'll only devote a minute or two to the ceremony.

The colors are lowered to half-staff. Custom dictates that on Memorial Day the flag be at half-staff until noon.

Ed Tattersall read the list of 187 names that represent Wicomico County's war toll since World War I.

For each conflict, the bell was rung signifying a new list of names.

There's just something about a bagpiper playing 'Amazing Grace'. Matthew Wallace is the musician pictured here.

These three men served for the Volley of Arms portion of the tribute. They represent American Legion Post 64 and Veterans of Foreign Wars 194.

It's also so moving to hear 'Taps'. There were two players, pictured here is Randolph Dashields.

The other player, more in the background, was Jim Collins.

I remembered this bike from the 'Beast of the East' motorcycle show. It's just a cool bike that deserved a picture in my post.

The reason we do this. Little did the Lathams know last year at this time that they'd have a family member so honored this time around.

The community gathered together today to honor those who gave their lives to help us maintain the freedom and prosperity we have in America.

While this is only the second ceremony I’ve been to here, something tells me that they’ve all been pretty much the same…a few words in tribute to those who passed, an introduction of dignitaries that were present, lowering of colors, the reading of the names of the fallen, a volley of arms, ‘Amazing Grace’, and “Taps.”

It is good to see that a few hundred people made the time out of the holiday to appear. And I noticed that the political figures that were present didn’t do it as an opportunity to be seen – they were recognized but that was it. I’ll take a moment to recognize them as well. Norm Conway from the House of Delegates was present, as were County Council members John Cannon, Bill McCain, Gail Bartkovich, Sheree Sample-Hughes, and David MacLeod. We also had people representing Delmar, Sharptown, and Lee Whaley representing Senator Cardin’s office.

I suppose the thing that bugs me the most about the way the ceremony comes off is that they do it at the same time a wrestling tournament is underway in the Civic Center. While it’s good that the Civic Center gets the revenue, is it really necessary to have the tournament on a holiday weekend of this sort?

It’s also sad that we continue to add to the roster of the names as the Long War continues on. To me it’s interesting that, while the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan has slogged on for the last four-plus years, the number of people from Wicomico County who have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom is just four. By my count, 109 from our county were taken in World War II, which lasted almost as long as far as our country’s participation.

It was with the help of all of those named today that we get to enjoy this holiday and even the wrestling tournament that coincides with it. After I finish this post, I’ll go out and light up my barbecue so I can enjoy my day off. I wrote this as my own tribute to those who served since I was fortunate enough to live in an era where I didn’t have to and I chose not to. However those who did and still do deserve our gratitude, today and every day.

Laun picked for Wicomico GOP post

Salisbury resident Bob Laun has been selected to fill a vacancy on the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee. While Bob is currently in the sales field, most would likely recall him as a sports director and anchor for WBOC-TV for almost a decade.

Laun bested a strong field of five other hopefuls for the position, most of whom appeared before the Wicomico Central Committee at their May meeting.

On a personal level, I thought Bob was the best choice because of his media experience, stances on issues I held dear, and the fact that he brings a fresher face to the Wicomico GOP as he was the youngest of the six applicants. Upon his swearing in at our upcoming June meeting, he will replace me as the youngest member of the Wicomico body.

Laun replaces Ed Heath, who resigned in April due to a pending move out of state.

A new zoo review

May 26, 2007 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Politics · 4 Comments 

I got wind of a letter from the tag team of Carrie Samis and Jim Rapp of the Salisbury Zoo from Salisbury City Councilwoman Debbie Campbell, and I’ll share a couple of Debbie’s thoughts on it below (since she graciously allowed me to.) The Samis/Rapp letter is also posted on Salisbury News, so rather than reinvent the wheel I’ll summarize what those two zoo employees are concerned about.

According to the Samis note, if the city cuts its budget as Campbell and Cohen wish, 5 of 14 zoo employees would be furloughed. Rapp adds that “these cuts will ruin the zoo” and details the five positions: zoo curator, zoo education curator, and three zookeeper positions. According to Rapp, the education curator position is “funded through a grant from the MD State Department of Education, two endowments at the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, special events, and program fees.” Continuing by claiming the zoo is the “heart and soul” of the city, Rapp also contends that “Campbell & Cohen use the term ‘non-essential’ to refer to this Zoo: how does that make you feel?” Nice emotional appeal. Rapp also notes that, “(w)e need a strong presence (at the May 29 City Council meeting) – bring your friends, your children, and your passion for your Zoo.

For her part, Campbell defends her idea by saying:

I don’t think that they understand that although it is used regionally, that the Salisbury taxpayers are the only taxpayers supporting the facility. I love the zoo, but it is time for some fundraising (I plan to try to raise $10,000 toward the construction of the new health building) and if there is to be government support – some other governments besides Salisbury.  I would like to see businesses, perhaps the Chamber and Greater Salisbury working together to capitalize a fund at the Community Foundation to provide perpetual operating support for the zoo.  I would also like to see a small admission fee, maybe $1.  The could be a free day each week or month, but if people want a zoo they (regionally) should be supporting it. Not just the taxpayers in the city of Salisbury.

Awhile back, when my readership was far less than it is now, I posted a comparison of sorts between the Salisbury Zoo, the Baltimore Zoo, and my native Toledo Zoo. In it, I suggested an admission fee of $7, $3 for kids. That way a family of four could get in for $20. As I’ve now actually been through some of the zoo since I wrote that, it’s probably more fair to cut those prices in half. But if the zoo draws 50,000 paying visitors a year split between adults and kids, that’s a revenue stream of $250,000 $125,000 – paid for by those who use it. My guess is those five jobs and benefits probably could be saved by that income. And we could allow free days and such as Campbell suggests.

(Whoops, poor math on Michael’s part. That revenue stream would be $125,000 if it’s based on a $3.50/$1.50 admission scheme, or half the $7/$3 I originally proposed.)

The zoo is a cautionary tale of what happens when a group or entity becomes dependent on the taxpayer for their livelihood. Instead of seeking different and more reliable ways to gain income (like a user fee), they depend on the good will of the Salisbury City Council. Bill Reddish has said it well: the city’s priorities should be police, fire/EMS, water/sewer, garbage, and roads. The rest is gravy.

If the zoo were to charge admission, that would not be bothersome to me. As I stated, it would be a nice place to spend an afternoon casually strolling around with a friend. (I just need to find the right friend for it.)

*ahem* By going to a user fee and other funding routes that Campbell suggests, it shifts the burden to those who actually use the Salisbury Zoo and those who wish to help benefit the community by supporting it. Since the voters do not have a direct say in how the zoo is funded, this seems to me the best alternative.

Sounds like Andy’s running. Now what?

Already we have reaction from the Gilchrest camp. From the Sun yesterday:

Of Harris, (Gilchrest chief of staff Tony) Caliguiri said, “Anyone’s entitled to run for office, but we don’t believe his brand of extremist politics will appeal to Maryland voters.”

So being in favor of “fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense, traditional values, and an optimistic view of this country and its role as a world leader” is extremist? I’ll take these one at a time.

First of all, don’t forget the the bill that got Gilchrest his moniker as a “white flag Republican” also held over $25 billion in pork that wasn’t coming back to our district. And he’s not done a whole lot to stop the increasing budgets and earmarks eminating from Washington – in that respect he’s a true back-bencher.

So Gilchrest has done little in the respect of either fiscal responsibility or a strong national defense, because I consider the Long War as one strategy in defending our nation against a serious threat. Obviously, Gilchrest differs in his opinion, and that’s his right. But that stance may cost him at the ballot box among Eastern Shore voters.

But one thing I’d like to know about Harris is whether he feels as I do that as much (if not more) diligence should be paid to solving problems by getting the government out of the way and allowing the private sector a crack at them. One example is Gilchrest’s support of stricter CAFE standards for automobiles.

Obviously Detroit was behind the curve a bit on creating fuel-efficient cars, but the market is in the process of correcting itself without government help. However, some may prefer a larger vehicle for their purposes and if CAFE standards are stricter, there may be fewer choices for those consumers. It’s an example of government sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong, and there’s countless other restrictions that are supposedly for our own good but instead drive up prices and eliminate options needlessly.

I found the coverage of Harris’s announcement interesting too. Based on the e-mail I received from the Maryland GOP, they found four outlets that featured this story, which didn’t include local coverage here in Salisbury. The Baltimore Sun, Examiner, and Daily Times simply used an AP story, with the Daily Times burying it on Page C-2 of today’s paper. Meanwhile, the Gazette featured it as part of their “Reporters Notebook” section, which is understandable because their coverage area mainly lies outside the 1st District.

In this case I have to give kudos to the Cecil Whig, where reporter Cheryl Mattix did a great indepth article on the Senator and his announcement, going so far as to actually contact Harris for his thoughts on running. It’s interesting how two of the major papers in the district differ in their coverage based on personnel.

And while it’s not our side of the state, I found out that both Maryland GOP congressmen will draw a primary opponent. Onetime Cumberland mayor and perennial candidate Frank Nethken will oppose 6th District stalwart Roscoe Bartlett. A Sun article is here. But Harris has to be considered as a more likely victor than Nethken.

One point brought up by Cato at Delmarva Dealings is the possiblilty of a third (or fourth, etc.) spoiler in the race, someone who jumps in and splits the conservative vote enabling Gilchrest to squeak by. A name brought up is E.J. Pipkin, who ran an unsuccessful statewide race against Barbara Mikulski in 2004, which despite being a losing effort did give him a little more name recognition. Also, Pipkin represents an area actually on the Eastern Shore whereas Harris hails from Baltimore County.

Oddly enough, while the First District is thought of as solidly Republican and Eastern Shore, redistricting and demographics make it a district split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans as far as registration goes, and only about 5 out of 8 voters live in the nine counties comprising the Eastern Shore. If you split out Cecil County, which straddles both sides of the northern terminus of Chesapeake Bay, it’s about half-and-half between Eastern and Western Shore voters. Last year’s Democrat nominee, Dr. Jim Corwin, is a Western Shore denizen but he still defeated an Eastern Shore resident in that primary.

It’s going to make for an interesting race, one that may yet bear national attention as the months drag on toward Election 2008.

In print no. 7

May 24, 2007 · Posted in Communications, Delmarva items, Personal stuff · 1 Comment 

It’s obvious to me that someone at the Daily Times reads monoblogue because as soon as I noted that I’d sent a letter in, bam! it was in print the next day. Apparently I’ve gotten to the point where they don’t have to call me anymore to verify I wrote it.

They actually stayed fairly true to what I wrote in their print version, and I suppose it reads a little bit better. But here’s what I actually wrote in to them, just as a comparison.

Recently the local ‘pajamas media’ revealed a letter written by Barrie Tilghman regarding her ban on city employees participating on the “AM Salisbury” radio show hosted by Bill Reddish. This stemmed from his May 4th interview with City Council president Louise Smith, which culminated a long-standing feud between the mayor and Reddish.

As it turned out my name came up in the Smith interview as a source of comments Smith purportedly made in front of the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee on which I serve. I contacted Reddish later that day and informed him of the misstatement, for which he quickly apologized. However, the statement in question was uttered by Smith on other occasions, including a forum that I recounted for my website, monoblogue. Reddish’s sole error was placing Smith’s remark in the improper location when it was spoken.

I was satisfied with Reddish’s apology and I considered that portion of the matter closed. Further, Reddish made another apology for his lack of professionalism the next time he was on the air, May 7th. So it saddens me that Reddish has had a fatwa of sorts aimed at him by Barrie Tilghman and that Louise Smith has not distanced herself from it by accepting the apology Reddish provided.

I’m a regular listener to the “AM Salisbury” show and have been fortunate enough to be a guest on a few occasions. At no time in my dealings with Bill as a studio guest has he been less than professional. Slipping from his high standards on one occasion because his passion for the city got the better of him does not justify the calls for his job that have come from a few in and out of city government. Those who seek his dismissal are just as guilty of letting their emotions get in the way, and maybe they owe Bill Reddish an apology.

Reasonably close, except I paragraph differently. The point still remains that I consider the matter closed as far as my involvement is concerned and I think all of the affected should as well. If Louise Smith is this thin-skinned it’s going to be a struggle for four years.

On a sort of unrelated subject, I did get word about the Debbie Campbell press conference this afternoon (thanks Debbie!) but unfortunately I can’t attend midday stuff like that except on Fridays. At that time I was in the middle of designing flats for a project in OC, which is part of my paying job. But there is one part I’d like to get more info about, to wit:

Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Cohen will unveil their cuts in spending and increases in revenue (emphasis mine) totaling approximately $3 million. These changes in the budget proposed by Mayor Barrie Tilghman will allow the salary increases for city firefighters, which the Mayor cut from her budget, to be reinstated.  Money would also be made available for the six paramedic positions, which have also been cut from the Mayor’s budget.

It’s a simple matter of priorities,” states Mrs. Campbell.  “What is more important to the health of our city – being able to retain our police officers or adding to the bureaucracy by creating an Assistant City Administrators position?  What is more important for the safety of our residents – being able to retain our firefighters or funding a bike path?”

I guess I’m a bit disappointed in my fellows, assuming one or more had an opportunity to attend the press conference…what are the cuts? The Daily Times has a sort of basic outline, but no more depth than a pie pan. And more importantly, where do the increases in revenue come from?

If Debbie and/or Terry would be so kind to provide me a list so that someone who actually doesn’t have a deadline or space constraints could take a look at it, I’d appreciate it! I’m sure some of my fellows in the local blogosphere would say the same thing.

Tomorrow I’m going to look at the newly-christened Andy Harris campaign. Cato (of Delmarva Dealings) sure seems to be in favor of it, and I did check out the website (you’ll notice it’s linked now.)

Shorebird of the week 5-24-2007

May 24, 2007 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off on Shorebird of the week 5-24-2007 

2006 Orioles first round pick Billy Rowell gets ready for his Shorebirds debut, May 23, 2007.

Last night Delmarva fans were treated to something they anticipated back in April, the Shorebird debut of last year’s first rounder Billy Rowell. After tearing up two leagues last season (overall a .328 average, 3 home runs and 32 RBI in his pro debut, mostly with Bluefield) this 18 year old from New Jersey was expected to start the season here. Unfortunately an injury delayed his progress and last night was his first game of 2007.

Rowell started out quite well, getting an opportunity to put Delmarva in the early lead and coming through with a 2 run single in his first plate appearance. Overall he finished with that hit in four trips, striking out twice and contributing a stolen base as well. He also legged out a fielder’s choice that kept the third inning alive. So a pretty decent start to what’s hopefully a good remainder of the season for the Baseball America Rookie All-Star from 2006.

Andrew running? Sounds like a yes!

I have it on very good authority that Andrew Harris has made a pretty quick decision and will seek the Congressional seat held by Wayne Gilchrest, with a formal announcement sometime tomorrow.

Obviously this is a developing story, but it appears that the show of support he received at the Maryland GOP gathering over the weekend let him know the effort was viable. Who knows, maybe the comments on my little old blog story assisted as well.

And knowing that the husband of Gilchrest’s communication director is the editor of the Daily Times, methinks I don’t see a lot of good coverage coming from there. But I’ll be happy to pick up the slack.

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