Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Delaware Needs a Full-Time Lt. Governor

Obviously Matt Denn is too busy working for his law firm or pet projects to be a voice of Delawareans. Since he has no time for us, we must find someone who WILL represent Delawareans. We must elect Sher Valenzuela who will be our advocate and our voice in Dover. Let's give Matt Denn all the time he wants to pursue his legal pet projects, since his obligation of being the current Lt. Governor is getting in the way.

Watch this video.

Delaware deserves better. Delaware deserves a leader. Delaware needs Sher.

Also check out the rest of her videos here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Matt Denn Dishonest About Volunteer Work

Shell Games Continue: Denn was paid thousands through Skadden Arps, one of world’s largest law firms, to do “free” work On the heels of last week’s revelation that Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn has shortchanged citizens by taking on a second job despite taking office in one of Delaware’s worst economic downturns, new information has emerged regarding claims Denn has made about “charity” legal work. Denn has bragged for years about his work as a young attorney providing “free” law work to people in a church basement legal clinic run by the Delaware Volunteer Legal Services. The story is a prominent part of Denn’s stump speech on the campaign trail. He’s often repeated it this year at candidate forums. But Denn always leaves out an important part of the story. Denn was actually on loan to the “volunteer” program from a multinational law firm. He drew a regular paycheck for doing this “free” “volunteer” work. Denn was paid through the Skadden Arps Fellowship (information available by googling “Matt Denn Skadden Arps”). People participating in the program today receive a salary well above Delaware’s average per capita income, plus benefits. Participants in 1991, when Denn was a fellowship recipient, were similarly compensated. Bragging about “charity work” is bad enough. But making your job look like charity work when you were actually paid thousands of dollars to do it is even worse. “Denn’s shell games like these must stop. Delawareans deserve a Lieutenant Governor who will give them full effort and attention, not someone who moonlights at a second job for personal benefit,” Valenzuela said. “I’m focused on serving the people, not “gaming the system” for personal gain. For instance, i’ve pledged to forgo any state pension I would accrue in office. As Lieutenant Governor, I will focus on building our economy, strengthening our schools and making our streets safer. And I won’t be distracted from it by taking on a second job,” Valenzuela said. Here’s language from denn’s website regarding his legal work ( “Matt returned to delaware and sought out delaware volunteer legal services for his first job, providing free legal advice and representation to people who couldn’t afford it otherwise. Meeting with clients in church basements, he worked on cases involving unfair apartment evictions, workplace discrimination and domestic violence. “he deals with them all thoroughly from a to z and, thank god, it’s all free,” bishop thomas weeks of greater bethel a.m.e church told the news journal when it wrote about Matt’s service to the churches.” Sher Valenzuela for Lieutenant Governor of Delaware

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Is Senator Carper Fit to Serve?

At the US Senatorial debate sponsored by the Black Chamber of Commerce in Dover on the September 19th, all three attending candidates stated that they had no known health issues that could prevent them from serving all 6 years if they were to be elected. These affirmative, clearly stated declarations resulted from a question by an attendee, who wanted assurance that his vote wasn’t going to be disrespected by a backroom political deal that would find Markell or another political crony in the Senate finishing the term of a newly elected Senator Carper, who retires due to medical problems. For Senator Carper, who did not attend this debate, the question remains: does Senator Carper have any known medical condition(s) that could prevent him from completing all six years in the Senate, if he were to be reelected? Every person attending the debate agreed that this is an appropriate question for the Senator to address. Senator Carper can put this issue to rest with a statement identical to the ones his opponents made, above. Alternatively, he can describe any potentially disruptive medical condition(s) and trust the voters to make an informed decision. His third alternative is to stonewall this reasonable concern, which will give the issue more energy and destructive potential for his campaign and political legacy. Hopefully he will attend other debates where he will be asked this question – guaranteed. The question is can and will Senator Carper serve a full six-year term? If there is even a shadow of doubt, then a vote for Senator Tom Carper is a wasted vote.

Obama: The Six Trillion Dollar Man

Monday, October 8, 2012

A letter to Michael Smerconish

I am a former longtime listener to Michael Smerconish's program on WPHT 1210 in Philadelphia, and as such, have remained on his mailing list even though (for reasons that will soon become apparent), I no longer listen to his program.

One of his recent emails described his "disgust" at the polarization of US politics, and, perversely in my view, placed much of the blame on political commentators (would you place the blame for a blatant fumble or foul on the ref who called it?)

In response, I sent the letter below.



Have you considered the idea that the answer may not be for the two "extremes" to meet in the middle, but that one of those extremes may be very extreme indeed while the other one represents what was at one time considered quite middle of the road?

If one mathematician asserts that 2+2=4, and another asserts that 2+2=98, is it "extreme" for the first mathematician to stick to his original assertion?  Is it "moderate" or "reasonable" for an observer to try to convince both parties (and everyone else) that 2+2=47, since that would be "meeting in the middle" ?

What happens a year or two later, when the second mathematician asserts that 2+2=200?  Well, even the position that 2+2=47 would then be considered "extreme", correct?

Rather than apologizing for those in your field who are challenging the real extremists, and suggesting they exercise self-censorship (or that they should be censored), how about using your own position to expose more of the real extremism, rather than just telling everyone they should play nice together?  Would you tell your child to "play nice" with a bully who continually beat him up, as though he, as the victim, were 50% at fault?

Back in the days when you were writing books like "Muzzled", and actually digging up the dirt on people who needed a spotlight shown on them, I was an avid listener to your program.  Unfortunately, in recent years, from what I have seen and heard, you have become a spokesman for "play nice, no matter what", without regard who to is actually behaving dishonestly or abusively.

That is one manifestation of the idea that "they're each as bad as the other", a notion that is harmful to civil discourse and civic institutions, since it gives no credit to the good while never calling out the bad.  It is a philosophy that gives the advantage to the worst actors, every time.

Shame on you for promoting it.


Michael Vitsek

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Delaware Continues to Lose Business Friendly Competitive Advantage

In its annual report that ranks each state on how well it does to conduct and grow business, CNBC once again gave poor marks to Delaware.  In fact, Delaware has fallen into the bottom quartile, and with a dramatic turn-around the future does not look good for Delaware's economy.  For 2012, Delaware ranked a an anemic 43rd out of 50 (last year it ranked 36th.

The mere fact that in 2011 Delaware ranked 36th and in 2012 it now ranks 43rd, shows that policies by elected officials are simply not working.  Only two categories showed improvement - economy and access to capital.  This is a red herring since the labor force continues to shrink in Delaware and around the nation, but also because the unemployment rates drops due to lapsing of benefits paid to the unemployed.  Access to capital have have improved but this is a fraction of the what it was in 2007.  Delaware also cannot compete with larger states for venture capital due to its small size and lower profile.

Delaware also failed to be in the top five in any of the categories above.  In 2011, Delaware was in the top five in business friendliness (ranked #1 in the nation).

In the categories that will lead to job creation and business development, Delaware ranked worse in 2012 than it did in 2011.

Here are the definitions affiliated with the categories above and you will see why Delaware is not making the grade:

  • Cost of doing business - Cost is a major consideration when a company chooses a state. We looked at the tax burden, including individual income and property taxes, as well as business taxes, particularly as they apply to new investments. Utility costs can add up to a huge expense for business, and they vary widely by state. We also looked at the cost of wages, as well as rental costs for office and industrial space 
  • Workforce -  Many states point with great pride to the quality and availability of their workers, as well as government-sponsored programs to train them. We rated states based on the education level of their workforce, as well as the numbers of available workers. We also considered union membership. While organized labor contends that a union workforce is a quality workforce, that argument, more often than not, doesn’t resonate with business. We also looked at the relative success of each state’s worker training programs in placing their participants in jobs.
  • Quality of Life -  The best places to do business are also the best places to live. We scored the states on several factors, including local attractions, the crime rate, health care, as well as air and water quality. 
  • Economy - A solid economy is good for business. So is a diverse economy, with access to the biggest players in a variety of industries. We looked at basic indicators of economic health and growth. 
  • Infrastructure and Transportation - Access to transportation in all its modes is key to getting your products to market and your people on the move. We measured the vitality of each state’s transportation system by the value of goods shipped by air, land and water. We looked at the availability of air travel in each state, and the quality of the roads.
  • Technology and Innovation - Succeeding in the new economy—or any economy—takes innovation. The top states for business prize innovation, nurture new ideas, and have the infrastructure to support them. We evaluated the states on their support for innovation, the number of patents issued to their residents, and the deployment of broadband services. We also considered federal health and science research grants to the states. 
  • Education -  Education and business go hand in hand. Not only do companies want to draw from an educated pool of workers, they want to offer their employees a great place to raise a family. Higher education institutions offer companies a source to recruit new talent, as well as a partner in research and development. We looked at traditional measures of K-12 education including test scores, class size and spending. We also considered the number of higher education institutions in each state.
  • Business Friendliness - Regulation and litigation are the bane of business. Sure, some of each is inevitable. But we graded the states on the perceived “friendliness” of their legal and regulatory frameworks to business.
  • Access to Capital - Companies go where the money is, and venture capital flows to some states more than others.
  • Cost of Living -  The cost of living helps drive the cost of doing business. From housing to food and energy, wages go further when the cost of living is low.
 As you can see if you live or work in Delaware, the elected leaders are not living up to their end of the bargain.  The electorate trusted them to make things better, but instead continue to make it worse.  This is why elections matter.