Open Friday / Weekend Forum -- Chip Flowers will not seek re-election, moving to Massachusetts
So what's on your mind as we come come to week's end? Which stories / topics / issues have captured your attention?
BULLETIN (9:42 a.m., Friday)
State Treasurer Chip Flowers, with a heavy heart, and tears streaming down his face, announces he and his fiancee will relocate to Massachusetts, but he will serve out the remainder of his term. Flowers is giving up his bid for re-election and his involvement in Delaware politics, seeking a new start in the Bay State.
Flowers characterized many of the accusations against him as "lies", but said, nevertheless, that cloud would haunt him in Delaware without end. "Politics is now in my past", said Flowers.
By the way, Chip Flowers DID attend that Patriots' game with tickets purchased by Erika Benner on that state credit card. Apparently, Benner misled - or lied - about her family having season tickets. That said, Chip Flowers earlier denied - in a radio interview with Delaware 105.9's Dan Gaffney - that he (Flowers) had attended that game.
The Hawaii-born Flowers did take a not-so-veiled swipe at Delaware, when he suggested Massachusetts was the home of great policy debates and discussions.
Sean Barney becomes the automatic Democratic nominee for Treasurer.
State Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove tells me Flowers' name would be removed from the Democratic Primary ballot, provided he formally submits his withdrawal.
As talk host Al Mascitti says, "Looks like the Flowers era is over. Where have all the Flowers gone?"
After a bit of a pause, Wilmington's street shootings appeared to be accelerating this week.
New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie had a rather tough time Thursday as he addressed a public gathering in Ocean City, New Jersey. As Christie arrived, people chanted, "Save our jobs" and "Five-year promise" -- an allusion to the governor's five-year revitalization pledge to Atlantic City, announced in 2011. Casino workers facing lay-offs asked the governor what he planned to do about those closures. Christie responded government did not have the power to order businesses to do things, but his administration would work to find jobs.
Demonstrators gathered in a number of U.S. cities overnight to protest police misconduct and demonstrate their solidarity for the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, where the fatal police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old African-American man has triggered days of protests, confrontations, and lootings. But Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's (belated) announcement that the Missouri Highway Patrol would replace Ferguson and St. Louis County Police appears to have done the trick.
As Wesley Lowery writes in The WASHINGTON POST:
WITH HIGHWAY PARTROL, HUGS & KISSES REPLACE TEAR GAS in FERGUSON
FERGUSON, Mo. -- "Suddenly, everything has changed. The heavy riot armor, the SWAT trucks with sniper posts, the hostile glares: tonight in Ferguson, they were gone.
A stunning change in tone radiated through the suburban streets where protests had turned violent each of the last four evenings following the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
But Thursday night, when more than a thousand protesters descended on the remains of QuickTrip - which was burned during riots on Sunday - they had a new leader. The man at the front of the march was Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ronald S. Johnson, a Ferguson native.
'I'm not afraid to be in this crowd,' Johnson declared to reporters.
Johnson, a towering African-American man who wiped sweat from his brow as he pointed out neighborhood hang-outs and restaurants he used to frequent, was put in charge of crowd control earlier in the day, replacing the St. Louis County police who had been overseeing the police response to the protests..."
As noted in my previous blog post, the Ferguson situation has sparked a vigorous debate over the "militarization" of local police forces across the United States.
And, bowing to popular sentiment, Missouri authorities have identified the officer involved in that fatal shooting as Darren Wilson. However, Ferguson Police may have triggered a new round of public anger - at least in the African-American community - by releasing police reports saying Michael Brown, and his friend, Dorian Johnson, were suspects in a "strong-arm" robbery at a convenience store, for stealing a box of cigars. CBS affiliate KMOV reports the robbery was caught on video. According to the police incident report, Brown grabbed a victim and pushed him against the shelves of the store. Several dozen community members who turned out for the police chief's announcement greeted the news with disbelief and anger.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has drawn praise (previous post) for his measured, nuanced, response to the situation in Ferguson. But Paul's critics (for example, Brian Beutler in The NEW REPUBLIC) say Ferguson's incendiary climate is, in part, a consequence of racially divisive politics in America: Ferguson is about two-thirds African-American, yet whites occupy five of Ferguson's six city council seats. And, as widely reported, Ferguson's police department is nearly all-white. Beutler noted Rand Paul last May briefly admonished his party for obsessing over voter I.D. laws. Beutler says within a week, Rand Paul appeared to backpeddle on the issue, saying there was nothing inherently wrong with voter I.D.; but it would be prudent not to emphasize it as much. Beutler equates voter I.D. laws with voter suppression, resulting in the racial disparities we see on governmental bodies such as the Ferguson council.
By the way, for all the discussion of "broken window" policing on this blog, critics declare that strategy has produced an environment of police brutality. Contrary to the notion that "broken windows" reduces overall crime and undermines violence before it has the chance to escalate, civil rights activists insist the strategy has led to numerous instances of unarmed, African-American men fatally shot under questionable circumstances. In fairness, "broken windows" has now become an umbrella term for a variety of policing strategies. But Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) & five other members of the New York Congressional delegation want U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder to examine "broken windows".
One of the four U.S. Marines filmed urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in 2011 has been found dead in his North Carolina home. Marine Cpl. Robert Richards appears NOT to have committed suicide. Richards served three tours in Afghanistan.
Pope Francis - addressing an audience in South Korea - urges believers to shun selfishness and materialism.
Media buzz: Former Vice President Al Gore and his business partner Joel Hyatt slap Al Jazeera (in the Delaware Court of Chancery) with a lawsuit, alledging fraud and material breaches in connection with Al Jazeera's acquisition of Current Media. Gore & Hyatt co-founded Current Media. The Veep and his partner claim Al Jazeera has refused to cough up tens of millions of dollars stuck in an escrow account.
Posted at 8:49am on August 15, 2014 by Allan Loudell
I wonder if it's possible for a (gasp) Republican to win with Flowers' decision to drop out and move to Massachusetts.
Mr. Loudell: Can you please elaborate on the "broken windows" policing/strategy? What exactly is this policy of which you speak?
Mike from Delaware
Fri, Aug 15, 2014 10:53am
Well good news: Chip Flowers is ending his re-election bid, so that means Sean Barney is the DEM candidate for Treasurer.
OK, G.O.P., now it's your turn. Cher Valenzuela is NOT your best option; Ken Simpler is. If you have any doubts, go listen to WDEL's Podcast of the debate and you'll hear that Ken Simpler has the knowledge, experience, and desire to do the Treasurer's job. Whereas Cher Valenzuela said she wants to use that post as a sounding board as this would give her media attention as Treasurer, so she could advocate her political desires to the legislature [not the Treasurer's job] as she even said, during the debate, the basic job of Treasuer could be outsourced.
I think Delaware deserves a real Treasurer, not some political hack. We're getting rid of one; now that Flowers isn't running for re-election, let's not put another one there.
Fri, Aug 15, 2014 10:54am
Conventional wisdom holds that Sean Barney - without the cloud that had been hanging over Chip Flowers, and with full Democratic establishment support - would have a much easier time in November against either Republican candidate (although I'd love to see a debate between Mr. Barney and Mr. Simpler!). In fact, in a Democratic majority state, Barney would be a prohibitive favorite.
The "Broken Window" crime-fighting strategy - to which "Mike from Delaware" has alluded frequently on this blog - is a strategy which basically postulates you reduce crime in a neighborhood by aggressively going after folks who are loitering; unilaterally cleaning the windshields of motorists stuck at street corners, then demanding money for the "service"; etc. And when someone shatters a window in a neighborhood, you replace it. The central theory is that if you leave that broken window, before long, you get other broken windows, and the community goes to hell! The strategy picked up the name, "Broken Windows", from an article in The ATLANTIC MONTHLY, from criminologists George Kelling & James Wilson. Over the years, criminologists have had a lively debate about the "Broken Window" approach. But, the concept picked up a lot of public support when then-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani implemented it in the Big Apple. Contrarians say demographics (fewer men in their late teens and 20s) accounted for some of the drop in crime; and the crime reduction differed widely by borough and neighborhood. But the neighborhoods frequented by middle-class (white) people saw reductions in crime, so "Broken Windows" was championed as an elixir. Critics argue the "broken windows" concept often translates to racial and class prejudice.
Fri, Aug 15, 2014 12:09pm
Mr. Loudell: Thanks for the clarification on "broken windows"... to a certain degree I think the theory does "hold water" ...if people see broken windows/trash/un-mowed lots/no streetlights... then crime does go up.
Do you know the rent/own ratio for the borough/neighborhoods in NYC? I would think that had a large factor in whether or not people cared about "windows"?
Fri, Aug 15, 2014 12:09pm
Allan. I can't guarantee that the Democratic establishment will come out for Barney. If so, it would have to happen without the union vote (despite public endorsements); without the downtown Wilmington machine's vote (despite public endorsements); without the New Castle County vote (despite public endorsements)... That may change, but right now, it is not guaranteed... These three groups do not like Carper. They do not like Markell. They did appreciate Flowers. So with three legs of the stool missing, I can't yet say that conventional wisdom will apply in this case.
Fri, Aug 15, 2014 12:13pm
Here's a G0ogL3 street-view showing "broken window" theory over a rather short time period in Detroit. I have seen this happen over and over again all over Detroit.
To your previous question, I think the rent/own ratio would certainly be a relevant factor.
Unfortunately, don't have time to research right now, as I'm anchoring additional newscasts today, and setting up interviews about Chip Flowers; Ferguson, Missouri; etc.
But would welcome anything you could find out about that subject...
Fri, Aug 15, 2014 7:14pm
Well, whatta ya know? Ole Mr. Pizza is vindicated yet again!
As I've tried to warn you people for the past three years:
When the Democrats run for office, they always promise the Garden of Eden, but once elected, all they deliver is flowers.
Fri, Aug 15, 2014 8:15pm
P.S.: They may also throw in a bag of chips for you to munch on!
Sat, Aug 16, 2014 10:07pm
At least the Flowers got delivered, unlike the U.S. mail.
Sat, Aug 16, 2014 10:28pm
I think Flowers should step down immediately and start packing for Massachusetts. The treasurer's office cannot afford to be further tainted by a clearly corrupt occupant. If Eric Cantor can be man enough to resign though he wasn't guilty of any crime except being a conservative, then Flowers oughta show class and do the same.
Truthfully, I think both Flowers and Benner should go to prison, but I'll settle for banning them from public office for life.
Sun, Aug 17, 2014 7:24am
When I'm on the job, both the mail AND the pizza gets delivered.
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