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.

Salisbury City Council Walks All Over Freedom OF Religion

To protect the religious freedom of its constituents, the City Council has decided to open its legislative sessions with a moment of silent meditation, rather than the traditional Lord’s Prayer.

“We need to be mindful of the fact that we do this from the position of government officials, and law cases have very definitively stated we are not to promote religion over secularism, secularism over religion, or one religion over another,” said Council President Terry Cohen at this week’s six-and-a-half-hour work session.

The council considered several options, including removing prayer completely, reciting a prayer not exclusive to a particular deity and implementing a rotation in which each meeting is opened by a resident representing a different religion.

A 2008 opinion written by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor factored into the council’s decision, as the ruling states “the restriction that prayers be nonsectarian in nature is designed to make the prayers accessible to people who come from a variety of backgrounds, not to exclude or disparage a particular faith.”

City Clerk Brenda Colgrove polled 30 Maryland municipalities regarding their religious practices. Of those, nine recite a verbal prayer, seven recite the Pledge of Allegiance and observe a moment of silence, and 14 do nothing.

Councilwoman Laura Mitchell first suggested the moment of silence at an April 19 work session, and said Monday that it’s the best way to be equitable, respectful and legal.

“For me, prayer is very private and a silent prayer is a way I can worship the way I choose without forcing that on anyone else,” she said.

Councilwoman Shanie Shields staunchly opposed removing verbal prayer, stating the rotation of different faiths would be best.

“I don’t care what other cities do, or what the Constitution says, because sometimes that’s wrong,” she said. “We talk about crime, the economic situation of our people, children getting into trouble in school — the city needs prayer.”

Read more here.

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