Friday, October 24, 2014

You don't need to flip a coin in Sussex County

In another week and a half or so, residents of Sussex County, DE will be heading to the polls to vote.  One decision residents need to make is who will replace Vance Phillips (R) on the County Council - Rob Arlett (R) or Bob Wheatley (D).

If you haven't made up your mind on who to vote for, please read on.  If your mind is already made up, it won't hurt you to read on.  If you are like many and figure you'll flip a coin at the poll before casting your vote, please definitely read on.

All five of us drunk rednecks are in agreement; in general, there really isn't much difference between a Republican candidate and a Democrat candidate in most races.  For most voters, the decision of which candidate to vote for comes down to who comes across as more likable or who stands on most social issues that come closest in alignment to the individual voter's stance.  Social issues are one place where the differences between the candidates are as clear as night and day.

When it comes to economic issues, the differences between two candidates are about as clear as the new moon on a cloudy night.  Both want to create jobs, but are they creating quality jobs?  Both want to help improve the average voter's quality of life, but how do they propose to accomplish that goal?  Rarely do candidates come along and answer such questions in clear, concise terms.

Rob Arlett (R) for Sussex County Council
He's the guy back, left.
Mr. Arlett and Mr. Wheatley, however, made their differences on economic matters perfectly clear on the Susan Monday Show on WXDE 105.9 Talk Radio.  (Check out the right sidebar for links to the show.)  There's a reason Susan Monday wins awards for her show and her two-hour interview with both candidates is yet another example of her journalistic talents and acumen.  If you want to know both candidates better before heading to the polls, listen to Susan's interview, divided into two parts to make it easier on your ears.  You can listen to Part 1 before dinner and, for an after dinner treat, you can listen to Part 2.  SuMo (as Ms. Monday is colloquially known) went an extra step for you.  You can watch the candidates answering some of her key questions.  Bet you never thought you could watch a radio program, huh?

Bob Wheatley (D) for Sussex County Council
He's the only guy pictured.
As a preview of what you will be missing if you don't listen to the interview, SuMo opened the phone lines to listeners' questions and I called in with a two part question.  (You can listen to both candidates' responses on Part 2 at about the 29 minute mark.)  Both candidates talked about creating jobs and referred to the Vlasic Pickle plant being converted to a chicken processing plant as an example of economic development bringing 700 new jobs to Sussex County.  My questions for Mr. Arlett and Mr. Wheatley to answer were (paraphrased):

  1. when you talk about creating new jobs like the pickle plant, do you know how many of the new jobs will pay above $15/hour, the poverty level for a family of four, and how many of the ten percent of top paying jobs will go to local residents as opposed to the national company bringing in a management team from elsewhere or do you throw the numbers around because it sounds good on your political résumé and
  2. what would you do or attempt to do to promote and support local entrepreneurship and locally owned small busineses?
Mr. Arlett's and Mr. Wheatley's answers (again, paraphrased):
  1. Mr. Wheatley responded that the questions of pay was asked by others, but didn't know the answers off the top of his head.  He would gladly get back with me with the answers off-air.  I inferred that Mr. Wheatley had heard the answers and felt comfortable throwing the 700 new jobs number around as a positive for Sussex County.  Mr. Arlett responded that it isn't the government's business to know what a company will pay its employees.  New jobs are new jobs.  Mr. Arlett answered that he would not want to get involved with what kind of pay a company would bring to Sussex County as he does not believe that is any of the government's business.  Let the free market handle the quality of jobs issue.  I inferred that Mr. Arlett isn't concerned with the quality of jobs being attracted to Sussex County, jobs that could raise the quality of life for residents and the county in general.  He's only concerned with creating jobs to make his political résumé look good.
  2. Mr. Wheatley responded to the question of supporting locally owned and operated businesses and entrepreneurs very concisely with a need for Sussex County to cut and trim the licensing process and regulations.  For many residents who may want to start a business, the licensing process and regulations puts an applicant through unnecessary hoops and hurdles that can become a barrier.  He added that he would rather see ten businesses that employ 70 people rather than one business that employs 700 people.  I inferred Mr. Wheatley's answer to mean that he looks at more than the number of jobs created and would probably be very pro small business.  As for supporting the locally owned and operated businesses, Mr. Arlett was in agreement with reducing the licensing and regulation requirements, but his main focus was to utilize the retirees living in the county to form a mentoring group to help the locally owned and operated businesses succeed.  I inferred his answer to be a non-answer.  He agreed with his opponent in one sentence with regards to licensing and regulation and then spent the rest of his answer re-inventing the wheel.  Sussex county has a small business mentoring program that offers tons of free services to prospective and existing business owners.  The organization is called the Small Business Administration (SBA). 
By now, you may be thinking that I, and the other four drunk rednecks, support Bob Wheatley for Sussex County Councilman.  Reasonable guess, but incorrect.  All five of us live in Maryland and have no vested interest in Sussex County (except for me, the one writing this article, only because my Mom lives in Sussex County) and obviously we won't be voting. 

On second thought, current county councilman, Sam Wilson (R), thinks it's ok to break election rules on rainy days.  If it's raining on election day, maybe he'll let us vote!

For the TL;DR folks:

Really?  Too long?  I reckon that's why the government mints coins.  They come in as a handy tool during Election Day.

For your listening pleasure:

Posted by Five Drunk Rednecks

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