WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Power of fraternal organizations; organized labor evident in Del. legislative developments

It's become pretty clear: Few lawmakers - nor ultimately the Markell Administration - want to butt heads with the state's various fraternal organizations.

You may recall the Markell Administration sent cease-and-desist orders to VFW halls and various fraternal organizations for the slots machines on their premises.

Groups such as the Moose and the Elks immediately protested. The Administration and indeed lawmakers engaged these groups to try to finesse the issue. No matter that these organizations were in technical violation of the law.

The Administration crafted emergency legislation, and now Delaware House members voted overwhelmingly (34-1) to allow these fraternal groups to resume their slot-machine gambling. It is a band-aid solution. Lawmakers will have to craft a permanent solution.

I confess I don't get it. Why are these slot machines so crucial to fraternal organizations' bottom lines? What is the attraction? Considering the state lottery, Delaware's three casinos, and these lots machines, you'd think folks would O.D. on gambling!

But then again, I've never understood the attraction of gambling. Seems like just throwing away one's money. I know, I know: The adrenalin flow one receives just before learning the outcome of a particular game. But one can receive that adrenalin rush in other ways... without throwing away one's money!

An apparent repudiation of the Markell Administration and business interests:

A Delaware House committee has approved legislation (and final House approval is expected) that would make the Delaware General Assembly the final arbiter on any deal to sell or lease the Port of Wilmington to any private firm.

Organized labor has pushed hard against privatization, and for legislative oversight over any such deal. Representatives from the state's building trade unions packed Legislative Hall.

The Diamond State Port Corporation has been negotiating with Kinder Morgan, an international energy transport company. DEDO Director & Port Chairman Alan Levin continues to argue that giving Delaware lawmakers the final say could derail the deal.

Organized labor thinks privatization or leasing would put union jobs in jeopardy. People from Alan Levin to the state Chamber of Commerce's Rich Heffron argue just the opposite: The Port needs a deal to remain competitive; otherwise, jobs would be in jeopardy anyway.

You can hear my interview from the "Delaware News at Noon" on 1150 A.M. WDEL & Delaware 105.9 F.M. (WXDE) with House Speaker Peter Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach)...

Audio Here

Posted at 7:54am on January 24, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Thu, Jan 24, 2013 8:34am
How easily people forget: The original slot-machines bill passed in 1994 was to supplement the purses at horse-racing tracks and help keep the horsemen in business.

The original slot-machines bill was not to 'compete' with Maryland, not to be a funding source for the state budget, not to be a revenue maker for VFW hall. It's shocking so many people forgot in such a short period of time.

Thu, Jan 24, 2013 10:22am
Gambling has never been one of my vices. Like you Allan, I just fail to understand the need to throw-away money in order to get a rush. However, I am not against gambling per se.

When Delaware was faced with a severe revenue problem due to Governor Russell Peterson’s poor spending habits, state voters were asked their opinion on the First State going into the “numbers racket.” While talking with co-workers the day before the election, one person commented that “we all know how Jim will vote.” Imagine the surprise when I said I would vote “yes.” I may be anti-gambling myself, but why should I stop someone else?

The expansion of state-sponsored gambling from simply the daily numbers to slots and pro-sports does make me nervous. When the State begins to operate businesses that normally operate as private entities (whether legal or illegal) is an abuse of state power. It leaves government open to charges when fraternal organizations wish to engage in similar activities and the state says “NO”. What? Can’t the government handle competition? When government wants to engage in business, it has to allow all others the same privilege.

The Port of Wilmington is another situation. I view the Port as a State resource. The State must take an active role in its function. Strong ties to the Mob is a fact of life for many ports. Government direction is vital for success.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jan 24, 2013 12:48pm
JimH: Well said.

Sat, Jan 26, 2013 3:43am
Legalized gambling is the act of government being an enabler to the weakest members of society. Shame! Shame! Shame!

Between that and cigarette taxes, government gets rich by exploiting the poor.

And you people complain about the so-called and probably non-existent "2 percent."

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