Friday, March 21, 2008

A Banner Day in the People's Republic of Wilmington

James Baker, Mayor of Wilmington, gave his budget address last night to the City Council. The big headline of his speech, triumphantly reported as such, was : "no tax increases this year".

This in spite of an incredible inflation-surpassing one year growth rate of 11% and the addition of at least 13 new city employees none of whom by the way is a police officer, given the violent crime explosion we have seen, or an otherwise essential employee.

In keeping with Baker's theme that it is somehow praiseworthy that the city government has managed to scrape by with such paltry means as $141,800,000 for FY 2009* while still taking real nice care of all those much-needed layers of bureaucracy and patronage, Baker reassured that at least several of these new taxpayer-funded jobs would be justified by the new revenue they would generate for the city.

(Oh joy, we can afford more employees to think up better ways to bleed the public dry so we can afford...more nauseam.)

* @ 29K total city households = city government cost of $ 4889 per household.

* @ 73K total city residents = $ 1942 per citizen.

It is a pretty sad state of affairs in Wilmington, or Delaware, or anywhere when it is headline news that an already-bloated government entity is NOT raising our taxes this year, as if we should just expect annual tax hikes as a matter of routine.

I suspect that Baker knows full well he can't maintain an outrageous (double-digit) rate of growth in the city government's rapacious budgetary appetite without eventually sticking it (even more) to the citizens. Excuse me if I am reticent that our fearless Mayor has managed ever so bravely to hold the line on yet more taxes...for now.

In spite of the city government's various shifty, questionable, oppressive, and often just plain underhanded revenue dragnet schemes, the well only has so much to offer before they will be back looking for more. Surely it will come right after Baker gets himself re-elected to an unprecedented third (and if so, thank God, final) term.

The thought of Mayor Jim Baker on the loose for another four years, facing no more elections to hold him accountable (or at least make him think he will be held accountable) is frightening.

This man has single-handedly assembled a patronage empire on the backs of citizens strong-armed into paying the myriad of taxes, fees, fines, and penalties that come with the privilege of merely living or working or owning property (even that is up for grabs with eminent domain) within the hallowed borders of our fair city.

Interesting how so much of Baker's address, amidst gloating about how much extra money they have managed to squeeze from the citizenry, was about how well he has still managed to take great care of the 100's and 100's of city employees in their salaries and benefits. Apparently he has little concern whether the actual citizens themselves have anything left to subsist, after his revenuers get done with us, much less to prosper and afford luxuries for paying our bills or health care or how about just plain financial solvency.

One must wonder the breaking point when citizens will have had enough of negligent nanny and her brutish big brother at all levels in our little state. I fear it will only get worse before it ever gets better.

Thinking Delawareans, like concerned Wilmingtonians, face the rather deplorable conundrum of living in a small jurisdiction so infested with governmental layers that the ranks of taxpayer-funded employees form a statistically significant percentage of our entire population...not to mention their substantial political muscle and influence, pound-for-pound, dollar-for-dollar...paid for by us.

Unfortunately, the one-party absolutist hegemony of Democratic political and government careerists is a condition that many un- or under-informed voters appear content to inflict on themselves (and the rest of us) year after year. No sane voter if truly informed about the inefficiency, frivolity, and waste their tax dollars are funding could possibly be so masochistic (and sadistic to his fellow citizens).

Things are looking quite blue these days for the average working Joe out here, but not the type of blue that makes many political careerists know...the blue that is the (jack)ass end of the red-blue bipolar disorder thing.

Not the world-drowning political blue that makes government-feeders dance jigs as they consolidate and entrench their extended patronage networks. Not the blue that is riding the superficial wave of national anti-Republican sentiment for all of Bush's red ink government.
Just a blue blue mood about where things are headed. The hangover we are all facing from a deficit-government orgy that has yet to end.

If there is one place in this state that needs strong libertarian, resistant to government-growth, demanding of government is the City of Wilmington, Delaware.

When I think of this rapacious city government and its pugnacious head honcho my mind can't help but keep drifting to those words about a "long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, [that] evince a Design to reduce [us] under absolute Despotism."

I just hope it is sooner than later that the citizens wake up and take up their "Duty to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future Security."


Anonymous said...

Hi Tyler, Welcome to the blog. Please be careful of the People of Wilmington’s Liberation Police Force, they may give you a ticket. Lol….

Anonymous said...

Tyler as usual you hit all the nails on the head. Wilmington the corporate city in the corporate state is one of the most impoverished cities in the nation. (there is a study that proves that).

One must ponder why with all the wealth of all the corporations incorporating here, the Court of Chancery, etc, etc., why are the people so "down and out"?

We all know that incompetence rules, neglect of the people rule, the fact that the city claims a "democratic rule" is in my opinion not the problem. We have many republicans who are part of this mess, who filed as dems cuz they thought it the only way to win.

Corporations are ususally filled with republicans! At the highest levels of them they are republican, do you think its possible the "corporate party" delivers up "democrats" who not only play the game, but are part of the plan to keep the status quo

I recall when Jim Sills was Mayor, he said, the first days of taking office, one morning while in the middle of a top staff meeting the "suits" arrived. They just walked in, told the Mayor they wanted a private meeting and that everyone should leave. Now who the hell did theses "suits" think they were...they could command such behavior of the newly elected mayor? The "suits" walked over to the window and pointed a full circle of the city.....see all this has to go! ...all those blacks surrounding the corporate power, must be forced out....for what! For MBNA thats who!

I for one believes there is a "higher power" pulling the strings that leaves this city in its current state. I do know that the majority of its leaders are not leading the city to a better future but perhaps leading the city to the "new city" the corporates want 10 -15 years down the road. In other words, "let the blacks move out the blacks", for the white corporates to come in later and command.

You need to run for Mayor Tyler, I have told you that again and again. You are the only true republican who has the citizens at heart. It's your city, one you borne in, lived in and you have won the hearts of many because they see you are smart, while not typical of the hard hearted repubicans they understand that party to be.

Just my little opinion.

Liz allen

Anonymous said...


Very well written. I enjoyed every word.

Scott G.

J. Lyman said...


J. Lyman said...

er... Bravo.

Score1forTyler said...

Tyler, did you hear in the Budget they talked about emergency sidewalk repairs? Score one for Tyler. I would give you my real name but too many people are trying to put the BUG in my ear!

Steve Newton said...

I knew it would be worth the wait, and it was.

Welcome aboard, formally this time.


Shirley Vandever said...

Awesome post, Tyler.

What aggravates me is that the rosy picture was painted in the news, and most people won't go behind the rhetoric to see what is really going on.

Our gooberment, er, I mean government keeps piling it on, and we can't even see it is happening.

Joe M said...

Excellent post, Tyler! 'Bout damn time you graduated from common commenter ;-P

Tyler Nixon said...

Thanks everyone! I will never be able to keep up with Steve and Brian (they are freakin' geniuses!), but I will try to post regularly and with items largely of local (Delaware) interest, to balance the international scope Brian and Steve bring.

To "score1" : thanks for the props. I did notice the emergency sidewalk program. I love how the mayor still maintains the "legal quandary" lie, citing the '04 DE SC decision rather than the plain language of the City Code. Such chicanery! What they must realize, though, is that their initiation of the program, emergency or otherwise, is in essence an admission that the city is liable for sidewalk repairs. There may have to be litigation to resolve this issue finally, if not the legislature acting to enforce the duty by making the City Charter language clear as to the city's liability (as opposed to the city govt's underhanded attempt last spring to sneak a bill through throwing the duty onto property owners).

Again, thanks all, especially Steve for inviting me onto the team.

cassandra m said...

That is one righteous rant, Tyler. I don't think that things are so dire here as you do, but I do worry about the size of city government. There just aren't that many people here for all of that service and unlike other cities, this government pays no teachers.

3 L&I folks to watch pavement cuts is very alarming -- somebody is planning to do alot of underground work here soon (Verizon FIOS, maybe?) which means that streets are going to be really messed up, and you potentially have long term maintenance issue with streets that have lost some pavement integrity.

My own experiences working with folks at the city on behalf of my neighborhood has been in the main really positive (just don't get me started on the wage tax thing, tho), but that doesn't mean that city government can't reduce its footprint.

Hurry up and write some more!

Tyler Nixon said...

Thanks Cassandra! I appreciate your feedback.

I think the numbers speak for themselves as far as the burden the city government represents to Wilmington citizens. Nearly $5000 year per household is utterly excessive and unsustainable, like the 11% growth rate, which has been about the average annual growth rate of city govt for years now. Up up and away.

The thing about government like under James Baker is that they abide no belt-tightening or, God forbid, rational reasonable sensible reductions in government. Their view is that everything is essential but moreover they can do whatever they want, like continue government growth that far outpaces economic realities and certainly any commensurate rise in services. To them the tax/fee/fine/penalty well has no bottom. Citizens are just faceless cash cows in their perverse mentality. The sky's the limit.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments!

Lee said...

tyler,congrats! while living in the great city of new orleans in 2005 I witnessed a corrupt, bloated
city goverment that did everything in its power to perpetuate itself at the expense of its citizens, mostly poor and black. I saw 1st hand a city government that when faced with an emergency [hurricane katrina] had no plan to insure the safety of its citizens. Mass destruction ensued with over 1,000 city residents dying when the levys broke! The catastrophe exposed the rats in city goverment for what they were- inept,self-serving-corrupt! Thank god our city of wilmington has no levys, I shudder to think what would happen to our citizens under our current administration. on the other hand it would expose a self-indulgent, bloated, citizen-neglecting government! lee murphy

thobruk said...

This place is nuts. I am a recent immigrant to these shores from the UK. I recently went away on business for 2 weeks to find I had a citation from the Wilmington City Council for having grass on my front lawn longer than 6 inches, two tickets on my car for not moving it during street sweeping and a fine from the City because my burglar alarm went off (even though it was accidental and my tenant called it in immediately). This is stealth taxation at it's worst.