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October 31, 1997     Cape Gazette
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October 31, 1997

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6 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, October 31- November 6, 1997 V[ :00WPOINTS .................................................. Editorial Proposed ordinance struck a Sussex nerve "Governing a large country is like frying a small fish. You spoil it with too much poking." - Tao Te Ching, Leo Tzu, 550 B.C. Sometimes you have to step over the edge to find out where the edge is. On Tuesday, Oct. 28, in the theater at Del Tech in George- town, members of Sussex County Council found out where the edge lies. An overflow crowd of Sussex Countians, their numbers estimat- ed at between 600 and 1,000, took time out of their daily lives to let their elected county officials know they wanted no part of a proposed ordinance to establish a housing code for owner-occupied housing. The specter of county officials knocking on the front door demand- ing to inspect plumbing, electrical systems, appliances and any other items they deemed worthy of inspection slammed into a Sussex nerve. The proposed ordinance, which drew its language from state code, landed in the laps of a people already sensitized to government intru- sion by the recent IRS hearings conducted in Washington, D.C., by Delaware's U.S. Sen. Bill Roth. That sensitivity, combined with the short-sightedness of Sussex Council members in hurrying the proposed ordinance onto the table for consideration, flashed the dangerously potent display of righteous indignation. In bygone eras, such situations led to tar and featherings and riots. The message should be clear and carved in stone somewhere well within sight of the table where Sussex Council members sit to make decisions: when you set out to fix a problem, make sure you look at the situation carefully in advance to determine just how much repair is necessary. It doesn't take open heart surgery to cure an itch on your chest. People don't want government to use its power to interfere in their lives - period. There's enough bureaucracy and regulation already in place to deal with just about any problem that arises in our society. There will be times, of course, when government is forced to act because of the severity of the problem. But it should do so knowing that people don't want the interference and the response should involve as little interference as possible. This exercise should also serve to illustrate the danger in the often- used approach to writing law, which involves taking someone else's law and substituting a few words here and there to apply it locally. Lawmaking is not a casual business, especially because it ultimately involves interfering in people's lives and we've already discussed that. Too often we see, as in this case, a meat-ax approach where a scalpel, at most, or maybe just a scratch, at least, was all that was required. For the people, this exercise serves notice one more time that the price of liberty is vigilance. Letters Tim Kline of Salem, Va., serenades the sea with his bag- pipes as he strolls along Rehoboth's Boardwalk on a crisp fall day. New Moon First Quarter Full Moon Last Quarter October 31 November 7 November 14 November 21 Housing code blatant infringement on fights Anyone who has read the proposed Housing Code ordinance will recognize that it is the most blatant infringement of human, civil and legal rights ever pro- posed by anyone, anywhere. That includes those perpetrated on the human race by the Soviet Union, which is the author of this kind of legislation. Even they have never gone so far as this one. I demand that the council give us the names of the county staff that drafted this ordinance. I believe we need to know what is the reason for their belief that we need this kind of legislation. We need to see them and to question them This ordinance is straight out of Big Brother communist, socialist, govern- ment control that is invading our country. The White House and Congress are invading our lives to deprive us of our liberty, and the disease is spreading. It is not enough that they want to control our children's minds through the corrupt educational system, that they want to take away parental authority, control our health, our morals and our religious beliefs, but now they want to take away our right to decide who will day-care our children - at our expense! They want to perpetrate a system that has already failed in Russia and want to raise taxes to pay for it, although no system operated by the govemment ever succeeds or is run well. Now Sussex County wants to add another layer of invasion of civil rights - just another step in that direction where the government will stick its nose into another part of our lives and dictate things that belong to us to decide. This proposed ordinance will make a mockery of the principle that a person's home is his castle. It gives someone else the authority over how many lamps you bum, where you put rugs in your bath, when and how you paint that flake of paint on the comer of your porch, all the little things that make up our lives every day - and put us at the mercy of some nosy neighbor or busybody or enemy who will report us to the building code inspector. And then some committee will decide what we have to do to correct things to their satisfacdonl It is beyond belief that the County Council has let this thing get this far, and we demand to know who in the council are in favor of it. We need to know who deserves to be thrown off the council next election. I am student of history and of political systems and a retired army officer and I can smell socialist communism in this ordinance. If passed, it will be the most invasive deprivation of freedom and rights anywhere in the world. Even the most despotic dictators never went this far. I propose that the council apologize to all of us for getting us here today for this reason, and that they bum the ordinance in the public square and that they have their staff and chambers exorcised. Charles N. Valenti Lewes In defense of Sussex housing code During the last three months, much has been said and written regarding the implementation of an ordinance to regu- late owner-occupied structures in Sussex County. I would like to have an opportu- nity to explain my position regarding this ordinance. There are several reasons why this ordinance was written. First was to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing for all residents of Sussex County. Sec- ondly, the intent was to provide mini- mum requirements to safeguard public health and welfare, not only to the occu- pants of a home, but also for the sur- rounding neighbors. Finally, the ordi- nance would preserve the housing stock in Sussex County and aid in the preven- tion of slum plight areas and health haz- ards, including infestations. The intent of the code was to ensure that one property owner could not inflict undue hardship on another property own- er. It was never the intent of the ordi- nance to allow for one neighbor to snitch on another. The intent also was not for Continued on page 8 Write Now Letters are always welcome and should be signed and include a tele- phone number for verification. Please keep letters to 500 words or less. Write to Cape Gazette, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. Volume 5 No. 23 Publisher Dennis Forney Editor Trish Vernon News Editor Michael Short News Kerry Kester Rosanne Pack Jen Ellingsworth Janet Andrelczyk Photographer Angle Moon Proofreader Bill Rable Sports Editor Dave Frederick Advertising Director Carol Mawyer Fehrenbach Advertising Cindy Roberts Nancy Stenger Joseph Mariann Wilcox Classified Sandy Barr Office Manager Kathy Emery Circulation Harry Stoner Production Staff Susan Porter Deidre Sudimak Chris Wildt Contributors: Tim Bamforth Susan Frederick Nancy Katz Geoff Vernon The Cape Gazette (USPS 010294) is published by Cape Gazette Limited every Friday at the Mid- way Shopping Center, Highway One, Rehoboth Beach DE 19971. Sec- ond class postage paid at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Address all correspondence to Cape Gazette, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. Telephone: (302) 645- 7700. FAX - 645-1664. E-mail: capegaz @ Subscriptions are avail- able at $25 per year in ! Sussex County; $40 else- where. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Cape Gazette, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. "What we do not under- stand we do not pos- sess." Goethe