Letter to the Editor: Sussex primary reinforces need for ethics standards

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The primary election campaign for Sussex County Council District 5 was a great teaching tool for the county and the residents. I am thankful to learn that many Sussex Countians dig for answers and are not easily fooled by campaign facades plastered with enormous sums of money thrown on gigantic signs and countless mailers/ads full of false claims and accusations. These outlandishly negative campaigns seem to me to be churned out by the same ruthless lie machines that are at work at the national level.

Sussex voters spoke. I’d say the guy with small signs won! By not fighting back the same way, he attracted supporters from all corners of the county, across party lines.

This campaign also brought to the surface the issue of conflicts of interest that the residents have long suspected — for instance, serving as a Planning & Zoning Commissioner since November 2016, one of the council candidates voted to approve many subdivisions and then contract work for the same subdivisions for his company, Hopkins Construction.

I learned about these incidents, now widely publicized on radio and TV shows, from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s website (data.delaware.gov/energy-and-environment/well-permits/2655-qn8j/data), which displays detailed well permit information. The spreadsheet can be filtered or sorted by applicants’ business names, license numbers, application dates, etc. “URL for Permit Details” leads to another site, where clicking “Documents” leads to permit application details, including the locations and type of work.

Sussex residents breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday after the primary, knowing that John Rieley stopped R. Keller Hopkins from becoming a councilman.

I am calling all Sussex Countians who have questions about conflict of interest in the Sussex council, the Planning & Zoning Commission, the Board of Adjustment, etc. Let us ask the County Council to establish superior ethics standards and install the mechanism to ensure transparency and integrity in all levels of Sussex governance.

To sign the online petition, click on chng.it/CBBfZsCC6r or visit sussex2030.com. We must demand the County Council take up this issue immediately. Let’s get this done.

Eul Lee

Lewes

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