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We won! 21 April, 2011

Posted by David Anderson in Dover, Kent county, Local, Revolutionary Reform.
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Thank you Dover for electing me to city council.
David Anderson

Term Limits Failed 14 July, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Revolutionary Reform.
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Term Limits were the cure all reform mantra. If we get out those long time guys with out dated ideas, everything will be alright. The truth that we see is that having a CA situation where 1/2 of the state senate is no longer accountable to voters does not lead to better government. Maybe it is time to rethink them. Legislative term limits has not given us a government that works better anywhere. Executive term limits seem to have more value particularly if they are not a life time ban.

The nature of the legislature is that it represents the will of the people. Power is not concentrated (if the rules are designed properly) as in the executive. When the the legislature is no longer accountable to the people for its survival, it becomes a tool of tyranny and corruption. The legislator may spend his last term trying to please the next employer not the current one.

Term limits also belie the fact that it doesn’t matter if we have stationary socialists or revolving door socialists. What we need is an informed electorate which values liberty, prosperity, tradition, and the constitutional philosophy. The problem is not that we have poor legislators even though we do in many cases. The problem is that we are looking toward the wrong type of people. Term limits make this even worse because when you get a good one and they start making progress, you toss them out. The true solution will be found in educating the electorate not random shuffles

Rep. Darryl Scott gets it. 26 May, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Revolutionary Reform, State.
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In a meeting today with Representative Darryl Scott D- Dover, I got the feeling that he gets it. He seems interested in pursuing some fundamental reforms in the state financial management system. Three Cheers to Rep. Scott.

If DFMS were a criminal, it would be son of Madoff 20 May, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Budget, Revolutionary Reform.
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The Delaware Financial Management System has been shown to be highly inefficient to say the least. It may very well be siphoning 10% of our tax money through its inefficiencies. It’s inability to pay vendors in a timely, but quick system is costing us more in fees. It’s incomprehensibility is costing us unnecessary paperwork. Learning the system is like learning a foreign language. It’s bulky nature is forcing workers to do expensive work arounds. It’s inefficient structure is so burdensome that the cost of writing a check is estimated to be $50 by comparison it is $6 or less in the private sector. The dealings with vendors alone has been documented to cost $200,000,000.00 a year by the Wilmington News Journal. A financial management system is designed to save money not cost more money.

This system has literally cost us Billions of dollars. DFMS is Bernie Madoff of financial accounting. How is the state so mismanaged that electric bills go unpaid by the central system month after month forcing us to pay expensive fees. Electric bills are not a surprise. That is the tip of the iceberg. Wholesale mismanagement is costing us more money than anyone knows because no one can get a handle on it with the current system.

The best budget reform legislation that anyone could introduce would be a joint resolution to establish a commission to find a new financial management system. The reform of the vendor system started in 2004 and will not even go live until 2010. Whenever I hear a hybrid approach being discussed, I get concerned. Let’s study this and see if we can go world class instead of poverty class. Fixing part of the problem and introducing new complexities doesn’t seem like change that excites me. Let’s get a blue ribbon commission on this now.

Don’t Forget Your Tea Party 13 April, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Action Item, Economic Policy, Event, Revolutionary Reform, Taxpayer rights.
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Do you believe in power to the people not the plutocracy? You have plenty of company. Attend a tea party to show your support for fiscal sanity. This event is non partisan. Of course I think that after you get educated you should make it count and be partisan for those who stand up for you. Have a great tax day. I hope that you had no unpleasant surprises.

Legislative Mall on the Green
4:00 – 6:00 PM

The Circle
12:00 – 2:00 PM

Janosik Park
4:00 – 7:00 PM

The Riverfront
4:00 – 6:30 PM

Middletown Town Square
4:00 – 6:00 PM

What has Sarah Palin Accomplished–her 2008 State of the State 3 September, 2008

Posted by David Anderson in Election 2008, Revolutionary Reform, Sarah Palin.

Lieutenant Governor, members of the 25th Alaska State Legislature and all Alaskans, thank you for this opportunity to speak before you tonight. To our Commissioners, thank you for being here and for serving for all the right reasons. Todd and our girls, Bristol, Willow, and Piper, and our son Track who is proudly serving in the U.S. Army, thank you for your service. Let us pay tribute to all our men and women in uniform, and their families, and those who’ve previously served our great nation. Their fight for freedom allows us to assemble tonight – with liberty and security! Because of their sacrifices we are free to do our jobs here. And we thank them.

Out of respect for the greatest country on earth, I would like to talk about what Alaska can do to contribute and help secure these United States.

Addressing you on the first day of a 90-day session shows our administration’s commitment to help this Legislature carry out Alaska’s will. There is a lot of work to do – only about 1,000 days left in our term – so let’s get started.

Along with releasing our budget early, I will lay out my administration’s goals and show how they fit into a clear, positive plan for a strong Alaska.

In our first year, we have seen positive change and restored trust. From ethics reform to AGIA to ACES, let’s keep Alaska moving forward to the promise launched 50 years ago at statehood, founded on hope and trust, and rooted in our Constitution. Together, let’s provide the services that our Constitution requires, constitutional services such as education, public safety, and a solid infrastructure – and let’s do them right. Let’s commit to take responsibility for good stewardship when we’re developing our natural resources. Let’s remember that Alaskans are capable and created to work. So when government provides education and job training, every able-bodied Alaskan is expected to work and not simply rely on government to provide. Let’s take personal responsibility in all areas of life – including health. What we consume and engage in impacts not just our personal health, but our communities too.

Let’s reign in government growth so individual liberty and opportunity can expand. And let’s expect that every region contributes to our economy, to fulfill our promise to be a self-sufficient state made up of the hardest working, most grateful Americans in our nation. It’s in this spirit that I say to my fellow Alaskans – we have such great potential because the state of the state is great, and our potential even greater.

Challenges lie ahead, but let’s look back at the last year and at some accomplishments. In Education, we are shaping a three-year funding plan to finally shift the school debate from perpetual “money talk” to accountability and achievement! We are focusing on foundational skills needed in the “real-world” workplace and in college. In Natural Resources, we’ve opened arms to welcome development – but only responsibly, or not at all. Thanks to those abundant resources we will be able to provide for the urgent needs of our citizens. In Revenue, Alaskans ushered in a new era of stability with ACES, our new oil and gas appraisal system. It will provide protection even when oil prices aren’t as high as they are now. Ronald Reagan warned, “Government always finds a need for whatever money it gets.” I agree and that’s why we must save our surplus. My administration is proposing $7 billion dollars into the Permanent Fund, Constitutional Budget Reserve, the Education Fund and PERS/TRS debt relief. In Fish and Game, we are managing our fisheries based on science, not special interests. Alaska’s predator control program is showing results with greater wildlife populations so more Alaskans can hunt and feed their families the world’s healthiest, cleanest protein on God’s green earth. In Environmental Conservation, our Climate Change Sub-Cabinet has begun working on ways to adapt to impacts and we’re implementing the voter-mandated Ocean Rangers program. In Administration, we redesigned technology for government efficiency and transparency, including our nearly-complete online checkbook, showing Alaskans where their money is spent. We’ve strengthened APOC and added a new investigator. In Transportation, we added another $100 million for a total of more than $600 million for roads and airports to allow private sector growth and progress. Our “Transportation Endowment” will build a better, safer infrastructure and eliminate the threat of an increased gas tax at the pump.

In Labor, we’ve seen exciting, innovative efforts to grow private sector partnerships in mentoring programs and vocational-technical curriculums, and we’re training more healthcare providers to meet huge workforce demands. In Health and Social Services, we’re changing the Office of Children’s Services – we’ve so much work to do here. We are improving our assessment process and training to better protect Alaska’s vulnerable children. We returned senior benefits to our deserving elders. In Public Safety and Corrections, after years of positions left vacant, we’ve doubled academy recruits. I’d promised to separate wildlife brown shirts from law enforcement blues – so 96 brown shirts are finally getting to that stream near you. We’re building public trust by demanding the highest standards of those in public safety. We’re implementing realistic plans to deal with overcrowded prisons, including rehabilitation and work requirements for the 95 percent of inmates who will re-enter society instead of just “warehousing” them. In Law, we are getting tough on criminals with tougher, defensible sentences. It was a clean sweep for convictions in the Cold Case Unit. Our Civil Division is managing hundreds of legal battles to protect Alaskans’ interests. I commend Law for last year’s needed, comprehensive ethics bill. In Military and Veterans Affairs, we certified hundreds of territorial guardsmen, so those who served finally receive their benefits. We are proudly supporting our brave Alaska Guard as they provide daily search and rescue in our State, and support the War on Terror.

In Commerce, we beefed up consumer protection with changes in banking and securities.

We pushed every agency hard to deliver results. They delivered by slashing the upward trajectory of budget increases from 14 percent down to 4 percent, despite rising healthcare, retirement, and energy costs. Thank you to our Commissioners and staff for their hard work! Our economy is solid. We have a vigorous investment climate with ACES. For 20 consecutive years, the number of jobs in Alaska has grown and we expect 2,000 more new jobs this year.

We’re trickling down state wealth to communities, through a 50 percent increase in municipal revenue sharing. This can provide local property tax relief and local priorities to be met – like filling potholes and police positions.

I will propose reducing or eliminating burdensome taxes on our citizens like business license fees and the tire tax. After our citizens, our state treasure is our commonly-owned natural resources. Fifty years ago, our Constitution’s founders established lofty goals and ironclad promises to be self-sufficient and self-determined wise use of resources.

A perfect example of our self-determination is our natural gas pipeline vehicle: AGIA. AGIA’s competitive process is built on Alaska’s “must-haves.” Finally we will have an “open access” gasline so new explorers can produce new reserves, providing in-state use of our gas and careers for Alaskans. Without AGIA’s requirements, we’d be leveraged by a small group of companies. We can’t surrender revenue, judicial process and our sovereignty. AGIA works! A respected pipeline construction company, TransCanada, submitted a proposal that meets all of Alaska’s requirements. AGIA cleared the path for our gas to feed hungry local markets and to help secure the country with a safe, stable, and domestic supply of clean energy.

An AGIA license gets the ball rolling on our terms – and opens the door to innovative and strategic partnerships. We are reasonable and open to those partnerships that, at the end of the day, will get that long-awaited gas line built.

With this progress, it is with great confidence that I say our future is bright. Industry knows we want responsible development. Anadarko will drill Alaska’s first-ever gas- targeted wells on the North Slope. Chevron, FEX, Renaissance – many others are exploring. That’s ratification of AGIA’s promise to make investments profitable for industrious explorers. There’s more we can do to help leaseholders, to ramp up development. Our new reservoir study can increase development and we will ensure better, publicly supported project coordination. Besides oil, gas, and mining, we’re advancing tourism, to show the world Alaska’s majesty. We’re supporting our tremendous fisheries – for 150 years they have been the economic and social heart of our coastal communities. They define and sustain us, and I will not let politics interfere with management-for-abundance of our largest private sector employer.

To cultivate timber and agriculture, we’re encouraging responsible, economic efforts to revitalize our once-robust industries. We can and must continue to develop our economy, because we cannot and must not rely so heavily on federal government earmarks. Instead, let us power up and produce for Alaska and America. We can do this – we’re 50 years old now, and it’s time!

Time to take back our collective sense of responsibility and sovereignty. To honor constitutional principles and remind the Federal Government of our right to access and develop. To maximize development for the people of this Great Land. Let’s harness Alaskan ingenuity to deal with the double-edged sword of high oil prices. We will implement solutions to address outrageous energy costs for our citizens. While at the same time saving and investing the revenue generated by the record oil prices.

Let’s not blow it, let’s capitalize. We will fully fund Power Cost Equalization – $28 million to offset costs. We will match $10 million for Denali Commission and Energy Authority conservation programs. But we need a comprehensive approach to long-term energy plans, not just fiscal “shots-in-the-arm.” I’m appointing an Energy Coordinator, to activate a statewide Energy Plan. We’ll use earnings from a $250 million “Renewable Energy Fund” for alternative projects, like hydro, wind, geothermal, and biomass. These projects cannot even flirt with snake-oil science – they will be real, doable, and economic. Alaska’s plan can lead America toward energy security and a cleaner, safer world.

It is our energy development that pays for essential services, like education. Victor Hugo said, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” It’s a privileged obligation we have to “open education doors.” Every child, of every ability, is to be cherished and loved and taught. Every child provides this world hope. They are the most beautiful ingredient in our sometimes muddied up world. I am committed to our children and their education. Stepping through “the door” is about more than passing a standardized test. We need kids prepared to pass life’s tests – like getting a job and valuing a strong work ethic. Our Three-year Education Plan invests more than a billion dollars each year. We must forward-fund education, letting schools plan ahead. We must stop pink-slipping teachers, and then struggle to recruit and retain them the next year.

We will enable schools to finally focus on innovation and accountability to see superior results. We’re asking lawmakers to pass a new K-12 funding plan early this year. This is a significant investment that is needed to increase the base student allocation, district cost factors and intensive needs students. It includes $100 million in school construction and deferred maintenance. There is awesome potential to improve education, respect good teachers, and embrace choice for parents. This potential will prime Alaska to compete in a global economy that is so competitive it will blow us away if we are not prepared. Beyond high school, we will boost job training and University options. We are proposing more than $10 million in new funding for apprenticeship programs, expansion of construction, engineering and health care degrees to meet demands. But it must be about more than funds, it must be a change in philosophy. It is time to shift focus, from just dollars and cents to “caliyulriit,” which is Yupik for “people who want to work.” Work for pride in supporting our families, in and out of the home. Work for purpose and for action, and ultimately destiny fulfilled by being fruitful. It’s about results and getting kids excited about their future – whether it is college, trade school or military. The Lieutenant Governor and I are working on a plan to make attending Alaska’s universities and trade schools a reality for more Alaskans through merit scholarships.

Our resources pay for other priorities, too, like transportation and infrastructure. Our budget totals $1.6 billion to invest for these improvements – and there are still many more needs and future Federal Highway Funds are declining. I also propose a $240 million General Obligation Bond for other transportation projects and a crime lab – letting Alaskans vote on these projects, it’s their money.

We’re addressing another big challenge: the availability and cost of health care. I established our Health Care Strategies Council and I appreciate the outstanding volunteers who served. We’ll pursue many of their recommendations, starting with our Health Care Transparency Act, requiring that consumers get better information about prices and quality of their own care. And we will allow competition. Under our present Certificate of Need process, costs and needs don’t drive health care choices – bureaucracy does! Our system is broken and expensive. We propose, as many states have, eliminating the CON, to increase choice and to manage rising costs. Currently nine CON lawsuits are adversely affecting consumers. Alaskans want health care in the hands of doctors, not lobbyists and lawyers. We are considering what other fiscally conservative states have done to incentivize employers to provide medical insurance for employees, based on the free market. But comprehensive reform must include not only government reform, but Alaskans choosing to take more personal responsibility. All Alaskans must do better to be better, and healthier.

Our choices often lead to heart disease, diabetes, underage drinking, drugs, violence, and abuse. Soaring health and public safety costs are sometimes unfairly passed on to others. But more importantly, by ignoring or accepting selfish choices that cause the abuse, children, families and entire communities are destroyed. I visited the child sexual assault clinic at Providence last week with Senators Dyson and French, Representatives Gatto and Fairclough, and others. It was heart wrenching, especially hearing of one village where 85-90 percent of the innocent children there have seen abuse, including horrible sexual abuse. If that tragedy doesn’t open our eyes to the need, nothing will. It is a human’s natural defense mechanism to not want to think about it, but we will, we must. Because a few days after Providence, I was in Bethel, full of hope again, because I saw children so hopeful and blameless and trusting: we will not let them down. With a bright “economic future” on the horizon, kids need sound minds and healthy bodies to prepare for that future. We will do our part as a government to help those who cannot help themselves. We are excited about our Youth Wellness Initiatives combating alcohol, abuse and suicide. And educating kids about healthy eating and physical activities. But government cannot cure all ills. And don’t assume more laws foisted on Alaskans are the only answer – most “bad activity” is already illegal. We have got to make wise, healthy personal choices, including choosing not to ignore child abuse. I’m counting on families, communities and faith-based groups to step up, together, to help passionately here, too.

Proverbs tell us there is no strength without unity. So, Alaska, let us be united to be strong. Let us serve selflessly, and disregard who gets the credit.

We are on the same team, if we have got the same goal. With so much opportunity in Alaska, let’s look at challenges like we do in our own families: save money, spend wisely, and we will secure our tomorrow. Invest in solid foundations like education and deferred maintenance. Pull together, not tear down. Be positive. Respect our treasured past, but look forward now. These are leadership characteristics expected by those who elect us to lead, to serve, to work for Alaskans. What a responsibility we have! To look beyond partisan and geographic differences. To slow government growth, so we don’t tax hard working families and hand future generations a budget they can’t afford. To restore trust in government. To develop our resources responsibly, including a gasline to meet our long-term energy needs. To equip our students for work and help them commit to personal responsibility and good character. United leadership to do the will of the people, with vigor. The Palin/Parnell administration stands ready to work with you to accomplish all this. By doing so we will realize the potential that our honored Native elders and our Constitution’s founding mothers and fathers saw, providentially, years ago. So with 1,055 days to go in our term, we are ready to get to work! God bless you, and all Alaskans. And God Bless America.

What Choosing Sarah Palin Really Means 30 August, 2008

Posted by David Anderson in Election 2008, Revolutionary Reform, Sarah Palin.

The reform wing of the Republican Party has triumphed.  Reformer John McCain turned his back on the Washington Republican establishment and turned toward the working people of America.  I will not go over the accomplishments of Governor Palin, just read my other posts and comments.  I am focusing on what this choice means to the party. 

The combination of McCain Palin is a profound one.  It brings together the national security wing with the social wing.  It takes the party away from the big spending heresy which infected it. It is a fiscal conservatism not only of tax cuts, but of spending restraint. It puts two bold and courageous people at the head of the party.  It signifies that the party is under new management. 

When she was being vetted, Palin made an interesting statement which is being taken out of context now.  She said that she would not leave her job as Governor unless she was assured the VP role would make a difference in its day to day operation.  In other words, she understands historically that the VP can be a very important role in an administration or a one not much more influential than Miss America.  She was not interested in being McCain’s token.  She wanted to contribute.  That tells you volumes about the Governor.

She represents a turn in the party from poking fun at the vision thing to some one who believes government should represent the hockey moms, fishermen, teachers, and small business people in its policies again.  The Republican Party chose to give more than lip service to majority of the people.  It chose to give them the most important seat at the table.  It chose to groom a capable executive for leader of the free world.  In 4 years the GOP will not only have a new image, but a new reality.

Senator John McCain has chosen to break with the Washington consultant establishment, which is ruining the party in a profound way.  He deserves a great deal of credit.

Academy of Dover Turnaround–one person’s perspective 16 July, 2008

Posted by David Anderson in Education, Election 2008, Local, Revolutionary Reform.

UPDATE: Http://www.whyy.org has the replay of Thursday’s newscast in which we were part of the lead story.

There is nothing more fulfilling than being a part of success. The school is one of the great turnaround stories in Delaware education. Student Achievement is up. School morale is up. The school is run better in accordance to best practices in many areas. More needs to be and will be accomplished to make this a premier school. I am fully optimistic that the next year will bring that goal to reality.

Now it should be obvious that this was a team effort. In fact I would say optimistically, I may be responsible for 5%, but my 5% was essential to it happening. When I highlight my part in this to show you why I can be trusted, let it be with the understanding that a lot of other people did their part too. It was a team effort as the article said and without everyone’s effort the school would have failed. I especially credit the leadership of Mrs. Mary Scott (board president), Mrs. Leida Sanchez, MBA (treasurer), and the dedicated staff who went beyond the call of duty.

The Academy of Dover was a good school fundamentally, but it was facing some real challenges. The former management company did not live up to expectations and the school faced closure if changes weren’t made. The Department of Education demanded a new board of directors be chosen. I was honored to be one of those selected.

We faced 4 challenges. We needed better administrative procedures including financial management and reporting. We needed to improve our test scores and raise student achievement. We needed to meet 24 conditions set by the department of education. We needed to restore our image (damaged by the negative publicity from the problems which threatened the school’s viability) in the community and among our own parents.

Board President Mary Scott gave us our assignments. There was too much work to be done as a full board in just a couple of months before school opened this past year. So we each took an area and reported back to our committees which compiled and reviewed the work and reported back to the full board. We still had to have special meetings which lasted for 4 and 5 hours each (for an unpaid position). The results were worth the effort. We accomplished the conditions several at a time. We established Board Procedures for governing the school. We retained a firm to do an audit. We established best practice financial management. We sat down with our management consultants and made clear what we needed to happen. We had our contracts brought up to best practice legal standards. We brought the school up to the same standard expected of districts in many ways.

Stage 2
After the administrative items were handled, we went for the tougher job of bringing up student achievement. We implemented tracking of every student so a teacher and parents could know were each student stood not only in a class grade, but on each skill to be tested upon by the State (DSTP). We used Iowa testing at the beginning and end of the year. Next year we will test at the beginning, middle, and end of the year using MAPS.

I proposed a new math curriculum, Singapore Math which will be implemented next year. It is the number 1 rated math program in the world. We will be one of three schools in the state of Delaware to pioneer the program.

I also proposed a physical fitness policy, we now have one reflecting recommended practices and even received a grant to improve it. School safety was another priority of mine (having a child in the school) even though we had no incidents. We tightened some procedures and our bringing in more technology to help us over the coming year.

I have also had a part in bettering communications with the parents through a newsletter and an updated website. I also authored a parent satisfaction survey.

We are utilizing our computers better to aid learning. We have one for every 2 students. One of my areas was technology.

My part included writing some of the board procedures. It also included marketing and public relations. I authored the marketing strategy for the school. It was a low cost/ high effectiveness strategy. The school’s enrollment is up over 30% and climbing.

Stage 3

I am also one of those who proposed a gifted and talented program which will be brought on line this coming school year. We look to implement new after school programs.

We have cut unnecessary spending to get the most from every dollar. We used what we saved to hire enough staff so that we have a single digit student/faculty ratio.

As I said many others did more, I am certainly not the star of the show, but my part was also significant. Because I am an activist, I do not believe in just belonging to a group. I am a man of action. If elected to levy court, I will do my best to achieve the goals laid out. I want to see a strong, sustainable economy. I have a record of achieving what I set out to do. Please give me a chance to work for you.

A Smarter Approach to Planning 8 June, 2008

Posted by David Anderson in Economic Policy, Kent county, Local, Revolutionary Reform.

When I listen to the land management debate, I wonder why the real issues are often mentioned only in passing. We are in danger of becoming a bedroom community not a vibrant self-sustaining one. In Kent county, most people can no longer afford to live here on the wages paid. According to the housing report, most people are being stretched by rent and mortgages beyond what they can comfortably afford. High energy costs make commuting to find a better job an unproductive option for many. Stagnant wages, high energy costs, and a lack of affordable housing have created an iron triangle of despair for many people.

To answer this we need to begin with a smarter, fairer approach to land management. It should meet these three objectives: reviving our towns and cities, providing a diversity of housing stock, and promoting a vibrant business environment. It needs to respect property rights and be environmentally and culturally sustainable.

First, I wonder why we need to build town centers where there is no town. It is almost like the Democrat majority in Kent county is trying to dump all of the growth in areas still represented by Republicans; political gamesmanship is not leadership. That doesn’t seem like real change to the CR district and does nothing to alleviate the traffic issues about which everyone around Dover complains. The idea has merit if it is connected to town growth plans and can connect to town services. The county needs to cooperate with the towns not build new towns.

Second, we need implement a Transfer of Development bank and institute a system where people can easily sale or trade TDR’s. If someone wants to sell their development rights, not even the county can tell them for sure what to do. I spoke with someone who did three different deals and each one had different rules, all in the same year. The worse part is that it was becoming harder not easier. If you want to control growth, let people make money off of keeping their property rural. It is the best way to fairly compensate people for choosing to preserve their property. It won’t work unless it is a market commodity. Ideally, the TDR’s should also be able to be used in the towns to facilitate Traditional neighborhood design plans and giving developers matching tax credits to rehabilitate housing. We don’t need to devalue property and place unheard of restrictions on people.

Third, we need to implement a traditional neighborhood design as a development option. In my view it should be available in all areas and be encouraged not subjected to higher scrutiny. It would provide a mix of housing, allow churches, medical offices, smaller stores, and other businesses not high traffic to be in an area. It would allow a landowner and developer to make a greater profit offering some affordable housing while bringing good local jobs where people live. That is good environmental policy, and economic policy. The bedroom community mandates have failed. Let’s try something different. Let’s give people more choices. History shows that choice works better than mandates.

Fourth, we need to be pro-business in order to be pro-jobs. I would like to see our industrial-commercial areas become enterprise zones and international trade zones. We need to work with the chamber of commerce (CDCC) to take advantage of grants available to businesses which export overseas. With the Internet and parcel post services, it is an easy proposition for more businesses than we think. There are more than 360 federal economic development programs. Let’s have a contest with the colleges to see who can come with the best way to tap them. I would also like us to take advantage of alternative energy and science grants. I would also like to see a tax credit to any business anywhere in the county which expands. The new expansion portion should be exempt from higher taxes for three years. I would love to see start ups get a one year tax holiday. These ideas won’t cost us money but could bring us a real return.

Fifth, we need to continue cooperation with the cities to coordinate economic development and not work contrary to one another. The county should ensure that it plans proper infrastructure for industrial parks like the Garrison Farm. If you don’t build it, they won’t come. That was even true in the “Field of Dreams”. Impact and adequate facility related fees should go into a trust fund used to for that purpose and not into the general fund.

What we are attempting to do in the Livable Delaware and the proposed Kent County Comprehensive plan hasn’t worked well for the average person and often fails at its stated goals anywhere I can find. So why not try something smarter? We need smart change.

Happiness is a Trillion Dollar Issue. 7 June, 2008

Posted by David Anderson in Action Item, Revolutionary Reform.

The City of Dover Human Relations Commission asked me what the number one human relations issue facing our community was. My answer was unhappiness. It is at the root of racism, domestic violence, substance abuse, prostitution, school bullying, and family breakdown. The good news is there is something we can do about it.

Dr. William Glasser presented an interesting proposition. He said that

In practice, the most important need is love and belonging, as closeness and connectedness with the people we care about is a requisite for satisfying all of the needs.

Choice theory, with the Seven Caring Habits, replaces external control psychology and the Seven Deadly Habits. External control, the present psychology of almost all people in the world, is destructive to relationships. When used, it will destroy the ability of one or both to find satisfaction in that relationship and will result in a disconnection from each other. Being disconnected is the source of almost all human problems such as what is called mental illness, drug addiction, violence, crime, school failure, spousal abuse, to mention a few.

An interesting assertion indeed. If he is correct, then most of our approaches are destined to fail. We are spending so much money to address so many problems by trying to attack each of these social ills without a strategy. It is America’s trillion dollar delima. We spend so much money trying to address social ills which seem to get worse.

What if one county in this nation, say Kent county, Delaware, said let’s stop blowing our money and watching lives be destroyed. We aren’t going to launch a new government spending program to add to the already bloated list of thousands. We are no longer going to pretend that government can solve all of our social ills. We are going to bring the social service leaders together and activate a new public mental health model championed by Dr. Glasser. Let’s call together a visionary coalition of the willing to wage a war against the despair of the soul. Let’s get the substance abuse programs, counselors, churches, faith based groups, schools, post incarceration programs, mental health advocates, social service agencies, and any other interested parties together to form comprehensive public mental health strategy based upon helping people gain the tools for fulfilling relationships and enjoying life.

We are going to work with the experts help the different groups find a way to implement the strategy within their existing programs and develop new ones. Imagine if we could get the state to send minor offenders to programs which help them revamp their lives. If half of them let it be successful, it would revolutionize our cities and towns. What if their were no waiting lists for drug rehabilitation and the programs where based upon highly effective models? Why do we fund substance abuse programs which get results, which aren’t any better than the person doing it on his own, and not fund those which have 85% success rates? Do we really think that jailing people for being unhappy works?

If choice theory were applied in more schools than Campus Community, how many future relationships will be saved? The social costs of abuse, divorce, erratic sexual behavior, and children growing up with a failure mindset are becoming unbearable. What if people cut back on fighting and controlling each other and started respecting and caring about each other?