Delaware Delaware Government Education

On A Lack of Political Will

The front page of today’s (Sunday) NJ provides a powerful headline to their story on how the implementation of the CDC Report recommendations to help reduce violence in Wilmington.  I can’t add much to this, other than chime in with the anger that no one at the State or the City is really paying attention here.  The report itself would cost about $1M – $2M to implement.  Governor Carney’s response:

In interviews with The News Journal, Carney acknowledged that the data plan was a state responsibility, but said he would not allocate more state dollars for the city until he was assured all expenditures were being used wisely.

Some context:

  • Governor Carney signed a bill that repealed the State’s Estate Tax, that only the wealthiest (and without better tax advice) would pay.  We were told that this cost the state $5M per year or less.  So we’ve given back more money than the implementation of the CDC plan would cost.
  • This week, we heard the announcement of a full court press by the State, the County and the City to put in a bid to get the Amazon HQ here.  And it is a bid, folks.  Jeff Bezos is looking for the best deal he can get consisting of taxpayer money to create this second HQ.  But we still can’t get a full-throated commitment to make the investments that might help our most at risk kids.
  • We did find the political will to loosen the Coastal Zone Act.  This was for businesses too.
  • We listened to a Commission report this week in Wilmington on the possibility of reducing the size of City Council.  We were told that reducing the size of Council might save us about $375K per year.  We were told (by the committee majority) that this wasn’t much money in the scheme of things.  But 3 years of this savings would pay to implement this report.
  • Then, of course, all of our schools took an $11M funding cut, resulting in bigger classes, fewer investments in learning supports and greater risk to those kids who are already at risk.
  • WEIC is not supported by this Administration, either.  But we will find funds to give to Amazon.

So while we get more talk about how difficult it is to keep at risk kids on the straight and narrow, let’s keep this right at the forefront:  These kids already know we don’t like them much and don’t see them as valued.  They feel thrown away and it is hard to blame them.  And while we are focused on giving money to businesses to get them to bring jobs here (jobs that won’t return the investment we make in them) and in redevelopment in Wilmington, we increasingly cede control of the success of these investments to the at risk kids who don’t have to give a damn about your trickle down strategies.

If Delaware’s governments can afford to go to the mat for Amazon, they can afford to go to the mat to help our at risk kids be successful.


You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas. -- Shirley Chisolm

6 comments on “On A Lack of Political Will

  1. Once again Cassandra, you are on point.

  2. And honestly, why in the world would Amazon relocate to a state that refuses to invest in fixing the violence in their largest municipality, their schools and the quality of life of their residents? They wouldn’t. You want to attract business, make the quality of life here markedly different. People will be knocking down the door to come here.

    Also, has anyone asked the heirs of the wealthy how they plan to spend their inheritance? Who will ensure that money is spent wisely?

    • It is none of “anyone’s” damn business how their money or money of their heir’s money is spent. It’s their money.

      • And yet we can bitch and moan about how the City of Wilmington will spend money to solve their issues. This is the wealthy families state as well. They have a responsibility just like the rest of us.

  3. SussexWatcher

    It’s not just about finding the money. It’s about having the cojones to change the structures and systems and piss off the police. Purzy ain’t shown any inclination to do that that I’ve seen.

    • I think that some changes at the WPD are happening, but it needs some time. However, Wilmington’s violence problem is not entirely a police problem. Kids wrapped up in school and a shot at a future are less likely to be on the corner with a gun. Families where one or both adults have a shot at better than minimum wage employment are families positioned to thrive. The work has to be on multiple fronts and that is where we see the lack of political will.

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