$15 minimum wage is mantra of janitors, lawmakers during Wilmington march

WHYY | by Cris Barrish Chanting in English and Spanish, about 50 union janitors didn’t mince their words Thursday afternoon in downtown Wilmington. “What do we want?” the members of the local branch of the Service Employees International Union called. They had gathered in Rodney Square, surrounded by many of the buildings they clean. “Fifteen!’’ They shouted their desired hourly wage for their next contract. Their current one expires at the end of January. “When do we want it?” “Now!” The office cleaners carried Santa signs emblazoned with “$15 Now” […]

Commentary: Independent government oversight needed

Delaware State News | Opinion | by Nick Wasileski & Keith Steck Transparency, accountability, and “in the public interest” describe essential guideposts to assist state officials in establishing laws, making decisions, and carrying out policies for the well-being, safety, and happiness of Delaware’s citizens. When state officials dismiss these guideposts, misconduct, mismanagement, and neglect of office swiftly can lead to conflicting policies and actions and even fraud. Consequently, the Delaware Coalition for Open Government (DelCOG) perceives a need for an independent, nonpartisan office for oversight and investigation to ensure good […]

Kowalko: The need for good, transparent government

Delaware State News | Letter to the Editor | by Rep. John Kowalko I am challenging all of my colleagues in Dover to join me in reforming Delaware’s lawmaking process. I am asking them to join me in supporting rule changes that disallow last-minute votes on bills that have not been adequately vetted. I am asking them to support rule changes that disallow the use of “suspension of rules” to bring bills to the floor that have not been vetted by a committee or the general public. I ask them […]

Open government advocates urge ethics oversight in wake of Kent County lodging tax questions

Delaware Public Media | by Sarah Mueller State Sen. Trey Paradee (D-Dover) plans to amend legislation he sponsored giving revenue from a new lodging tax to a Kent County sports complex. The lodging tax bill Paradee sponsored earlier this year allows Kent County Levy Court to implement a 3 percent hotel lodging tax solely benefiting DE Turf, a privately-run facility near Frederica. Paradee’s brother John is on DE Turf’s board and has an interest in an adjacent retail complex. Paradee denies he sponsored the bill to benefit his brother. He […]

Law to give taxpayer money to Delaware sports facility would benefit sponsor’s brother

WHYY | by Cris Barrish A new law that was rushed through the Delaware General Assembly on June 30, the final day of the legislative session, could benefit the sponsor’s brother in a commercial development deal. Now lawmakers are criticizing the familial conflict and a process that skirted the rules governing the legislative process. One said “it just doesn’t smell right.” Another called it an indictment of the so-called Delaware Way of cooperation for the greater public good. Some lawmakers who supported the measure tell WHYY they want it repealed, […]

Kowalko: DE Turf bill exposes big flaws in how Delaware passes legislation

The News Journal | Opinion | by Rep. John Kowalko Congratulations to News Journal reporter Sarah Gamard on her insightful article, “Why the DE Turf vote has some lawmakers second guessing,” regarding the passage of Senate Substitute 2 for Senate Bill 178 on June 30, the final day of the legislative session. Her reporting has exposed some of the major flaws in the workings of Delaware’s General Assembly. One major concern is the fact that the legislation was presented as an economic development driver without any data to support the […]

Why the DE Turf vote has some Delaware lawmakers second-guessing

The News Journal | by Sarah Gamard Some members of the Delaware General Assembly are second-guessing their yes votes on a bill that allowed Kent County to tax hotel stays and give the resulting $1 million in revenue to DE Turf, a sports complex near Frederica. After learning the tax could benefit a proposed development championed by John Paradee – brother to the lawmaker who sponsored the bill – Sen. Cathy Cloutier, R-Heatherbrook, is one of the lawmakers who thinks there is a conflict of interest. “It doesn’t look good,” […]

Kowalko: U.S. failing to remember the lessons of past

Delaware State News | Opinion | by Rep. John Kowalko Because of the recent permission granted by Trump to the Turkish autocracy that will allow/encourage a campaign of genocide against the Kurdish people, who have exhibited a courageous and determined willingness to fight the evils of terrorism, I felt obligated to revisit a past moment in my personal experience with Turkey’s history. In 2007 I sponsored a resolution of remembrance of the atrocities committed against the Armenians by the Turkish/Ottoman Empire regime. Here is the statement I released at the […]

Kowalko: Kudos to Jennings

Delaware State News | Letter to the Editor | by Rep. John Kowalko Congratulations Attorney General Jennings on a job well done. It is a great pleasure to recognize efforts by the head of a government agency in fighting for a good and open government. Attorney General Jennings’ announcement of her office’s efforts to dissolve Delaware LLCs that have illegal and nefarious intentions was announced recently. Good job AG Jennings. A great start to a necessary reform of Delaware corporate laws. I applaud you and offer myself as an ally […]

Kowalko: State should have been tougher on asbestos contractor

The News Journal | Opinion | by Rep. John Kowalko More than four months after I joined residents, workers, and local union officials in calling for an investigation into the asbestos removal project at the former Boxwood GM site, DNREC has chosen to levy a negligible fine against EcoServices Inc. for its asbestos removal malpractices. As an asbestosis victim who suffers from the condition of asbestos exposure, I felt a significant personal stake in protecting the workers, their families, and the residents in the area from the consequences of improper […]