It's time for election year signs to come on down

By Cape Gazette staff

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

Election year 2012 is over, which means: Take down those signs. Most came down pretty quickly, but oddly enough, a few more are still out there, with the most out-of-date being a Glen Urquhart sign for the September primary.

The weirdest one is a "Reelect Harris McDowell" sign, which describes him as "Your Senator."

Actually, he's not. He's the District 1 senator from Wilmington North, but for some reason he's got a sign up on New Road in Lewes. That one didn't belong there in the first place.

Cape Region mourns loss of Jerry Wood

Cape Region Republicans -and people of all parties - were saddened Friday morning to hear about the death of Jerry Wood, chairman of the Sussex County Republican Committee. Just last week, Mr. Wood had announced he would not be running for a second term as chairman, citing health reasons.

It was a challenging but successful year for Mr. Wood. Wood was elected to the post at a difficult time, shortly after then-Chairman Glen Urquhart stepped down to primary Ernie Lopez for the new Senate District 6 seat.

Two months later, Wood good-humoredly corralled his high-spirited party members at the state Republican convention in Rehoboth. That was followed by what looked like a disaster for the party: Eric Bodenweiser, having won the primary, dropped out after being arrested - less than a month before the election.

But the party managed to get Brian Pettyjohn on the ballot, and he won the Senate District 19 seat against Democrat Jane

Hovington. (Oddly enough, the official results on the Department of Elections website, as of Thursday, still listed Bodenweiser as the winner.)

The election also saw victories for Republicans Lopez and Steve Smyk in the new Senate District 6 and House District 20 seats. Mr. Wood's time as county chair was too short, but friends and family can remember his final year with pride.

People expect help from the government

A story in last week's Cape Gazette helped illustrate the sometimes bipolar nature of modern politics.

The story concerned a Dec. 12 meeting of manufactured home owners and state officials, including Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown. (Briggs King's district used to take in Lewes, but was redrawn and now includes Long Neck, home to many mobile home park residents.)

The homeowners are anxious about issues in their communities, such as road conditions, the eligibility requirements of the state's Rental Assistance Program, and the fact there's no limit on how much mobile home park owners can raise their rent. (It's once a year, but there's no limit on the amount.)

They're also worried about insurance. A Delaware Insurance Department representative said his agency receives 5,500 complaints or inquiries every year from mobile home park residents, which sounds like a lot for a state the size of Delaware.

For these and still other issues, the mobile home park residents are demanding help from the state. They want rules. They want regulations. They want enforcement from the Attorney General's Office.

In other words, they want help from the government -quite a bit of help. Which is perfectly understandable. Few things are more basic to security and happiness than the homes and neighborhoods in which we live.

Here comes what I suspect is an inconsistency. The audience at that meeting was largely white and middle class. Considering that Sussex County voted for Mitt Romney and that white in general voted overwhelmingly for Romney, it's a good bet that many of those attending voted for the party that says it's for smaller government.

Often though, when people say they want smaller government, they're not talking about their government. They're talking about someone else's government.

When they need help from the government they're not shy about asking - or demanding that help. That's fine. That's what democracy is all about. Bu people clamoring for smaller government should be careful what they wish for. They may wind up with a government too small to help them when they reach out for a helping hand.

But it's time to get off the soapbox. Happy New Year everyone! We have much to be thankful for: 2013 isn't an election year.

Don Flood is a former newspaper editor living near Lewes. He can be reached at

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