The new Salisbury ‘Dream Team’ – Day and Ireton

It probably wasn’t a big surprise based on the primary results and the perception that this election was a tag team match between Jake Day and Jim Ireton vs. Debbie Campbell and Joe Albero. But the preliminary results are in, and it’s all but official that the Day/Ireton side won handily: Day picked up just under 72% of the vote in routing two-term incumbent Debbie Campbell while Jim Ireton managed just 68% of the vote in defeating Joe Albero and winning a second term.

Campbell was the only one of the three incumbents to lose, as District 1 Council member Shanie Shields won a third term with just 48% of the vote – a quirk in the City Charter allowed both challengers to advance through the primary. Cynthia Polk received 3 more votes than April Jackson did this time.

So where will Salisbury go now? Later this month it appears we will find that the 3-2 majorities which always seemed to stymie Ireton’s key initiatives will now become 3-2 votes in favor, with Day joining incumbents Shields and Laura Mitchell to provide a pro-Ireton majority. And I’d love to get a hold of Debbie Campbell’s green-highlighted copy of the Day plan just to see how many of these items indeed cost city taxpayers.

But another question may be the fate of River’s Edge, which was touted by Campbell as one of her achievements. While the money from the state is probably still going to be there, will the plans have to change to accommodate the retail aspect Day wants to bring to the city? (It’s still pretty sad that taxpayers all around the state are going to be paying a subsidy for a artisan community, but that’s a subject for another time.)

Still, given the primary results none of these results were completely unexpected. Both Day and Shields actually improved their percentages from the primary – which was not surprising to me because people like to back a winner. Day gained 723 votes from the primary while Campbell picked up only 292. Over 71 percent of the new votes went to Day, reflective of the final margin and perhaps a result of the (somewhat undeserved) negative reputation Campbell acquired over the years.

Of course, it’s too early to tell what the future will hold for the losers. While April Jackson was a first-time candidate in District 1, Cynthia Polk has now lost twice. And while Debbie Campbell can look back at eight years where she went from the reformer darling against the “Dream Team” in 2005 to being portrayed as the Wicked Witch of the West on one local blog, Joe Albero literally relocated himself to an apartment inside one of the properties he owns a year ago to establish city residency after living outside Delmar, Delaware for several years. Is he through with Salisbury?

Read more here.

Weighing in on the Salisbury races

On Tuesday, Salisbury voters will head to the polls to elect their mayor and two of five City Council members in the last partial election before changes in 2015 would require all Council members and the mayor be elected simultaneously. So in essence we are picking some of these Council members and mayor for a half-term to be completed in the fall of 2015.

Honestly, it probably doesn’t matter who gets elected in District 1 because they will be advocates for the city’s minority population getting theirs rather than necessarily the benefits of the city as a whole. I heard a lot of complaining from the three women who are running about what the city didn’t do for their district, and while we all want the benefit of good jobs their district in particular is the product of people who made a lot of bad life choices. We also all want a thriving minority community, but it should be in the context of a thriving community as a whole. Moreover, in 2015 that district will double in size and become home to two Council members if the plans remain the same.

But while I can dismiss the District 1 race quickly, I have a lot to say about the mayor’s race.

In 2009, Jim Ireton told us that help was on the way. Well, the city isn’t exactly thriving, and it’s spent a lot of money just to maintain its place on the treadmill. Furthermore, it appears that even more money will have to be spent thanks to government mandates to clean up Chesapeake Bay – despite the fact millions have already been spent on what was supposed to be a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant. Meanwhile, Jim touts a lot of “accomplishments” which any halfway decent mayor should have been able to do in his sleep. This is what Jim lists on his website as “Improving Salisbury”:

Third Friday, The city’s first Latino Festival, lowering business capacity fees, people returning to downtown, the city dog park, improvements at Bateman/Onley Road. These are just a few of the important improvements to Salisbury that have happened while Jim has been Mayor. Coalitions across Salisbury have worked with Jim and city staff to move projects forward. Jim led the way on the city’s comprehensive plan, fought for and won a 60% reduction in business capacity fees, and hasn’t raised property taxes his entire time in office.

Jim has aggressively used the city’s revolving loan fund program to help businesses like Mojo’s, and he’s ordered the demolition of five slum properties and worked to close and demolish the Thrift Travel Inn.

Well, no wonder MoJo’s donated to his campaign! I’m just surprised they didn’t max out. But when you think about it – is that a worthy resume of four years in office? Oh, and he claims violent crime dropped 41 percent and he hired the first female chief of police.

Read more here.

Salisbury Maryland Candidate Forum

The $19 Million Dollar Question in Maryland

Over the past few days mayoral candidate Joe Albero has taken to his Salisbury News website – you know, the one with no authority line – and thrice bashed incumbent Jim Ireton for scheming to raise city taxes and fees by $19 million. But is Albero correct in blaming Ireton?

Yes and no. One could extend blame to the party Ireton is a member of and the politician he supported twice for President for signing an Executive Order compelling the federal government and states to increase their tempo in restoring Chesapeake Bay. It allowed the EPA great latitude in determining a course of action (like these marching orders show – orders which include the stick of possibly “withholding, conditioning, or reallocating federal grant funds”) and established a “pollution diet” which had little to do with maintaining the economic viability of the region but more to do with pie-in-the-sky goals for the state of the Bay twelve years hence. This supposedly would “ensure that all pollution control measures needed to fully restore the Bay and its tidal rivers are in place by 2025.” (Yet, as I’ll discuss in a bit, that won’t be the end of the road. Far from it.)

Thus, the state of Maryland became a greater participant in the effort – not that Governor Martin O’Malley, who Ireton also supported for election twice, was exactly going to be dragged kicking and screaming into the prospect of further power over and control of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay watershed population.

But it can be argued Ireton has his hands tied, and if Joe Albero wins? He still has to deal with it. As it turns out, this $76 million effort is just a portion of Salisbury’s share of costs to enact the Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan, lovingly presented to the EPA by the state of Maryland last year. This led to the mandate from the Maryland Department of the Environment for local officials to prepare a plan for Wicomico County:

As requested by MDE, each of the twenty‐three counties and Baltimore City were instructed to prepare a Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan that details / demonstrates how each jurisdiction will do their part in improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries across Maryland.

Read more here.

Lack of Depth in Salisbury Maryland Mayoral Race

The first press shots across the bow by Salisbury mayoral challenger Joe Albero came in a slickly produced press release decrying incumbent Jim Ireton for…not showing up at a boxing event.

When I saw the headline “Albero Supports Youth Sports Program” my first thought was, okay, where is he going to get the money to pay for it? Instead, the thin gruel I was subjected to went like this:

Salisbury mayoral candidate Joe Albero attended Saturday’s “Warriors of the Ring” event at the Main Street Gym. The event was in support of Main Street Gym’s youth boxing program. Albero and his wife Jennifer, along with other local businesspersons such as John Robinson and Danny Burt, were sponsors of Saturday’s event.

Albero stated, “The work that Hal Chernoff has done with our local youth is phenomenal! Boxing is a great sport which instills the values of hard work and discipline. These are the same traits which will help these young people succeed as adults.”

Albero lamented the absence of his opponent, incumbent mayor Jim Ireton. “I’m sorry that Jim wasn’t able to be here tonight. We were both asked to participate in tonight’s event. Regrettably, Jim felt that campaigning was more important than showing support for this great program and our area youth.”

Both candidates had been invited to participate in Saturday’s event. Ireton declined, stating that he was too busy campaigning for re-election.

So Jim Ireton decided not to show up at a boxing match in favor of “campaigning,” yet his opponent makes a campaign issue out of it. I think I’d be more worried if Ireton didn’t show up at a mayoral forum.

Read more here.

Joe Albero Announces Candidacy For Salisbury Mayor

Joe Albero files lawsuit vs. Mayor Ireton

In his line of work as a local news blogger and (ultra-conservative) provocateur, Joe Albero gets called lots of names he says can’t be published in a newspaper.

But he draws a line at being called a “Delaware blogger” — as Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton has learned.

Albero is seeking $200,000 from Ireton in damages related to the mayor’s twice calling him a First State resident at a recent news conference. The libel lawsuit, filed in Wicomico County Circuit Court in June, also accuses Ireton of making “defamatory statements” in telling the media that Albero lied about a prank phone call supposedly from the mayor.

Ireton declined to comment Wednesday for this report.

The lawsuit offers an ominous preview of next April’s mayoral election. No one has officially filed to run; Albero has publicly announced his candidacy, becoming a T-shirt-distributing, handshaking fixture at his downtown office and local events.

Albero alleges that Ireton called him a Delaware resident to raise questions about his eligibility to run for office.

City law dictates that candidates must be residents for at least one year before the election. Albero said he moved on March 24 from his home in Delmar, Del., to the second floor of his office on Salisbury’s Main Street.

Read more here.

The Conspiracy To Get Joe Albero

Posted at RightCoastCoservative.

I hardly know where to start with all of this. It’s almost, almost so ridiculous, that it’s hysterical. Except that it’s not really. It’s more pathetic and sad than anything, but mostly it’s very illustrative of the rot gut in our community.

The local news has been high lighting a circus of a story about a prank phone call, and at the center of it all is local blogger extraordinaire; and supposed Salisbury mayoral candidate; Joe Albero. The story starts back a few weeks ago when Albero claimed on his blog that Salisbury mayor,Jim Ireton, phoned him late on a Saturday night, intoxicated, and that Jim conceded the election, well in advance of next April’s vote. Albero claimed Ireton asked to meet him the next day.

Only, none of that was true. Albero had a prank phone call, from a guy pretending to be the mayor. That was it and it should of been not only obvious, but the end of the story….but it wasn’t, it was only the beginning. I’d say it was gullible, if I am to be charitable, for Albero to believe that 1. The mayor would call him. 2. The mayor would call him at 11 o’clock on a Saturday night 3. The mayor would call him drunk. and 4. The mayor would call him to concede the election 10 months away. But he stands by his version of the story, and is now threatening to sue…..somebody. Allegedly the mayor.

Next, Albero calls city council woman Debbie Campbell, who in turn calls the Police Chief because she was allegedly concerned about Jim’s “well being” because he didn’t show up at the fake meeting discussed on the fake phone call the night before. Then somehow, Albero ends up going to the police and filing a complaint or something. That’s when, apparently the police chief, the states attorney, the sheriff, the FBI, WBOC-TV, The Daily Times, WMDT-TV, and reporter, Sarah Lake all conspired to go after Albero, at least according to him.

The police department conducted an investigation into the call at the request of Albero and in doing so they obtained the phone records from Ireton and Albero. As it turned out, indeed there was no phone call from Ireton to Albero. The guy who made the prank call was named and not charged, a newspaper reporter was fired for with holding knowledge of the callers identity and the Police Chief closed the case, as Ireton held a press conference to clear up the whole mess, yesterday.

Read more here.