Heckles

Paul Heckles gave us a scenic tour of plans for the Chestertown Main Street improvement efforts.  The combination of grants with some assistance from the town and from private donations is hoped to make a difference in the appearance and success of downtown Chestertown.  There seems to be some momentum building.  We know that business owners need to buy and and support such efforts to make them successful.  We have an excellent volunteer staff in place and several plans of attach were explained.  The audience was enthusiastic and there does appear to be a high level of interest in bringing success, a better appearance, and good business opportunities to Chestertown.

We saw photos of towns on the Eastern Shore who have had substantial improvements in appearance.  Hopefully, we will not miss our opportunity to make the most of the local Main Street movement.  Looks good!!!

 

 

 

Sheriff Price, 10/4/2018

On October 5, 2018, in Uncategorized, by David Atlas

Our Kent County Sheriff made a visit to Kent CBG during his temporary retirement hiatus.  He explained why he took his mandatory retirement now instead of after the election and made sense of the DROP program for our attendees.  Ir seems as though our County residents don’t have big issues with the Sheriff’s uncontested re-election bid, so for the next four years, it looks fairly certain who the Sheriff will be.

A good amount of time was also spent explaining what the Kent Turns Purple campaign is all about.  When someone who interacts with the local people, the Sheriff knows all too well about the sadness and death which opiate addiction causes.  Unfortunately, the addiction situation is both national and local.  It crosses all lines of ethnicity, relative wealth, level of education and cultural background.  Legislation won’t cure it.  Jail won’t stop it.  Some degree of legalization and the huge cost for effective rehabilitation have built in limitations.  Ultimately, the best and most effective long term cure is to teach children not be become addicted via intention or experimentation.  Educating the youth does make very good sense and may, in fact, contribute in the long run, to stopping the addiction crisis.

 

Mclendon

Dr. McLendon really gave us a well rounded lecture on why you ought to have a real professional give you a hearing test and proper medical exam.  You can choose to buy hearing aids or amplifiers as you choose, but sometimes folks have medical conditions which require attention beyond simple amplification.  Being without good hearing is highly isolating and creates real pressure within one’ family and business relationships.  Knowing what to do about it often requires far more than just a $300 magazine based amplifier.  Medicare pays for professional hearing tests so long as your primary physician makes a referral.

Get informed and take advantage of your benefits.  Some insurance policies even cover part of hearing aid costs.  There is a lot to know and understand.  Dr. McLendon can make it happen and she is local for members of our community.

 

Fu & Hardin

The Citizen’s Climate Lobby has goals to encourage doing what each of us can to support the best outcome for the changing climate.  Whether we can sufficiently influence the ultimate outcome seems less of an issue than the process of taking reasonable steps which lessen the impact people and their choices have on climate.  To that end, the CCL is promoting a tax on extracted carbon and passing the tax on directly to all citizens so that better alternatives become relatively cheaper and more commonly chosen for use.  This make sense as it was presented, but the devil is surely in the details.

There are many good reasons to support environmental conservation and improvement.  We do want the world to be a safe and healthy place for generations to come.  We understand there is a group formed in Chestertown recently under their banner who have more information available, too.

For those of you who have more interest in this topic are some areas of interest and links CCL has Sabrtian Fu provided to us after our recent meeting.  

 

(1)Details of the macroeconomic studies by REMI:  https://citizensclimatelobby.org/remi-report/

(2)Microeconomic studies on the impact of CCL’s proposed CFD policy: https://11bup83sxdss1xze1i3lpol4-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Ummel-Impact-of-CCL-CFD-Policy-v1_4.pdf

(3)More about BC carbon tax:

Interesting history of who opposed it and then changes in the support of the CFD in BC: https://www.citylab.com/solutions/2014/03/how-british-columbia-enacted-most-effective-carbon-tax-north-america/8732/

David, I know you asked about car sales, and I did look for that, but was unable to find any data specifically on changes in car sales.  Then when I saw this detailed report by the University of Ottawa: https://www.energyindependentvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/BC_Carbon-Tax-success-story.pdf

I realized from the details in the article above that gasoline is only a small portion of the liquid fuels used in British Columbia!  Take a look at the screen shot that was taken out of the Ottawa report: it shows that the change in motor gasoline use is really the smallest (cannot count aviation fuel since that was exempt) with other liquid fuels such as propane, fuel oil, and petroleum coke decreasing much more than motor gasoline. 

I will see if I can find additional data when I have more time later on. I just wanted to get back to you as soon as possible.  Brad might be able to find out more about whether it was conservation that decreased CO2 emissions in British Columbia or something else.  By the ways, articles such as this one: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/05/visualizing-u-s-energy-consumption-in-one-chart suggests that Americans can readily save more than 20% of their energy usage with simple conservation measures.

 

Sabrina Fu (410-418-8694)
Mid-Atlantic Co-Regional Coordinator
A non-partisan non-profit organization. 
Working to build the political will for a livable world.
www.citizensclimatelobby.org

 

 

 

CBG9-13-2018

We had a lively and informative event with a good talk from States Attorney candidate Strong.  He told us how he feels about crime and punishment both personally and how he is able and willing to do follow the rules handed down by the State legislature whether he agrees or not.  The public really seems to support strong sentencing, while the legislature seems to be in the saving taxpayer money on punishment which does not appear to rehabilitate.  No one really voiced any solution.  We are in an increasingly liberal environment of shortening sentences and forgiving crimes which simply scares law abiding citizens.  While strong sentences don’t appear capable on their own of stopping crime, they do stop individuals while they are incarcerated.  No one is getting a good result.  Both Mr. Strong and his opponent, Mr. Di Gregory, have all the necessary tools, knowledge and experience for the job.  We wish both of these candidates a fortunate election outcome.  It is a difficult decision for voters, but the citizens will win either way.

Meanwhile the Candidates for Judge of Orphan’s Court continue to impress us with the dedication and professionalism.  They really are common citizens, properly trained, that give meaningful assistance to every family that comes in contact with them.  If you live here long enough, your family or your attorney will inevitably come before the Orphan’s court to probate a will or to create the needed documents to settle your estate.  The pay isn’t very good, but the human stories are truly excellent.  What a great way to meet nearly every family in the area while providing needed help and direction during difficult family times.    We have 4 total candidates running for the three seats on the Orphan’s Court panel.  We wish them all the best and know that whatever three win, the citizens of Kent County will have good people in place when a will needs to be probated.  Everyone appreciates their continued service.

 

 

There is always something more to know.  That’s what Kent CBG brings to the area at an early hour on a weekly basis.  The work of the three member panel of the Orphans Court is there to assist family members when they are having issues with the last wishes, the will or lack of a will for a deceased member of their family.  These are trained citizen judges, not necessarily formally trained in the way lawyers are, but that may be one of the good choices that government has made over the years.  Allowing the common sense of those individuals who are known and respected in the community to give skilled, trained, yet sympathetic assistance and judgment based on the law is a good thing.  With 15% of the deaths in the county ending up for some version of guidance or supervision, there is always something to be done by this panel of concerned citizens who sit as judges in such matters.

There seemed to be no end of interesting stories from the incumbents.  The job sounds intellectually rewarding, but don’t get involved for the money.  There is very little pay for this work, but it is of very high value to those who need this guidance to get past the probate process.

We wish all 4 candidates for the three positions good luck in the election.  The 4th candidate will visit with us Sept 13th.

 

commiss 2

The second set of three hopefuls for County Commissioner met with Kent CBG this morning.  The audience  was intent on school funding, county population and job growth, and transportation issues.  The two sitting commissioners, Pickrum and Fithian were very well prepared for these questions and Tom Timberman gave us his views on these pressing subjects. The difficult problem in Kent County is how to grow tax revenue to meet increasing expenses and funding requests when faced with long term population decrease.  Couple these issues with a large number of the local populaces very much opposed to more traffic, higher density housing, and a perceived loss of the rural character of the region. 

These are trying issues that have been faced for some decades.  Here we are, not beyond all hope, but how do people who live here and those who represent us in government make what may prove to be rather controversial and potentially unpopular choices about making things better for the poor, the disabled, and the old while at the same time giving better education, better opportunities and better places to live to the younger population we must keep and also attract to live here.

There is hope and many suggestions from smart and optimistic people who attended.  There is much concern that funding requires revenue which must be raised or cut from other programs. Being a commissioner is a difficult job.  We can see the professionalism in those who already are on the Commission.  We also see it in the high interest and desire of those striving to replace the incumbents.  Vote in the election and be heard!

 

 

CBG8-23We had a fairly large audience and a few members in it were anxious to ask the incumbent and the two hopeful Commissioner candidates some direct questions concerning school funding and details of how the tax differential can be re-constituted for the incorporated towns of Kent.  We discussed what kind of “growth” would be acceptable for this mostly rural county, how it would look and where it might be.  Would growth impact net revenue in a positive way or with the higher costs associated with serving more people be neutral or decrease out net revenue?

There is a lot of interest in who will be elected to this rather powerful local office.  I found it interesting that the candidates who are running for this office have not been regular attendees to the meetings of the commissioners.  This does seem to us as a very good way to find out what the job really is all about and to have a deep understanding of the details of the job requirements.   It was suggested that by going to these public meetings, the candidates would be more able to suggest more in depth and fact based suggestions that they would bring to the table if elected.

This should be an exciting election season because those three of the six running for this office do make very important political and financial decisions when they meet.

 

We had a very informative morning with Mr. DiGregory.  He made several points about his varied experience as a criminal litigator and as a public defender.  He is readily able to make his point of view clear and it seems great that such a well qualified candidate is looking now to the public for support and for the needed votes.  On Sept 13th, we will host his opponent for the same office and also give him an equal opportunity to impress us as voters and citizens.  The activities and programs being supported in the Justice department of Kent County sound like they are meeting the need of those who have been trapped in the drug scene and want to get clear of it going forward.  We have an intensive program to support those who deserve and want an opportunity for relief from drugs and to get back into normal lives without carrying a felony record into the future.  We can only hope it succeeds on a long term basis.   

There was lots of discussion on the new approach to bail.  It makes sense not to incarcerate poor people who honestly intend to appear at their trial.  Qualifying people for bail based on their  attitude, history and threat to others, rather than making money the determining factor does make good sense and appears to be saving the taxpayers money by keeping the jails less full of poor people waiting for their day in court.

 

We had a good sized audience for today’s speakers.  Two incumbents and two hopeful of being elected to the Kent County Board of Education.  Each was given 10 minutes for their own introduction and then the floor was opened for questions and many thought provoking statements by audience participants.  It was informative and rewarding for those in attendance.  As today’s event is early in the campaign, some of the questions and issues raised may help the candidates to better form future talking points and to be even more fully prepared to respond  in the balance of the time remaining before election day.

We asked, in advance, that each candidate be able to personally define what “fully funded” means.  This term is often casually used in the mix of explanations given for so many things to do with funding of schools.  Each candidate gave it a go.  We never ought to expect all the money that is requested to simply be delivered.  We live in times where there are constant demands to pay more and more taxes.  People don’t want to pay more without guarantees of positive effectiveness.   Those on the Board of Education are the public’s buffer between the demand for more funding and the limitation of revenue being collected.

We are left in a quandary.  Can we truly hope to provide first rate basic education against the large presence of long term poverty and its effects?   Is it realistic to think that what the public schools might offer will be competitive with first rate private education where parental support is demanded, courses are more oriented to the gifted rather than the average or struggling student, and where the effects of poverty are virtually removed?  What must the public schools concentrate on achieving?  What is beyond the scope of public education?  What is optional, what are the priorities of those options, and what is absolutely mandated?

In the end, the Board of Education acts as the elected representatives of the public, advises the school administration and County Commissioners.  The BOE members fit the budget handed to them by the school administration to work with the revenue supplied to them by the the State and County.  This is no easy task.  Cutting the amount of requested funds to fit the revenue is a task which creates controversy.  We commend the BOE members for the patience required of them, their commitment to the public, the students, the schools, and to education.

 
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