for Election, Voting Issue
NOTE: Sussex Beat is a log of news briefs and commentary by Kerin Magill, editor of Sussex County Online, with contributions from Sussex County Online users.
Dewey Beach Mayor Robert Frederick has dropped out of the race for state auditor, saying he will focus on next month's town council election and on an issue that has the town council examining its election rules.
Reached on Friday, Aug. 9, 2002, Frederick said that he won't run against state auditor Thomas Wagner because he feels the issue of whether time-share owners should be able to vote is an important one for the town.
He said the owners of the Surf Club hotel are threatening to sue the town over whether time-share owners can vote in the town's annual election.
One of the hotel's units is sold as a time share, with four couples claiming they have the right to vote because they own one-quarter of the unit. The time-share owners say the fact that they have deeds for the unit -- for which they each paid $16,000 -- gives them the same rights as any other property owner in Dewey Beach.
Frederick, however, disagrees. "I think we're getting into semantics here," said Frederick. "It's licensed as a hotel, and it's listed in the phone book as a hotel. My contention is that the Constitution allows us voter equity, but I don't think that's in the spirit (of the Constitution). It's just not fair that a hotel room can generate eight voters."
The Surf Club's web site -- www.surfclubhotel.com -- also includes the word "hotel" in it, while the property is described on the site as a Hotel ~ Condominium. The property's logo is "The Surf Club Oceanfront Condominium Hotel".
He added that he believes the town will need to change its charter to close loopholes such as the one posed by the time-share owners. Frederick said the town's charter doesn't specify a length of time that residents have to live in the town before they can vote, but that that may be a way to deal with the time-share issue.
Frederick said the issue had been placed on the agenda for the Friday, Aug. 9 commissioners' meeting by commissioner Robert Spengler.
Spengler's seat is up for grabs in the Sept. 21 town election, but he won't seek re-election. Frederick is one of four candidates running for two open seats. The others are Roger Mallet, Courtney Riordan and Dale Cooke.
Frederick said that when he filed to run for the auditor's post, he was uncontested in the Dewey election. The fact that there is now a race, and the time-share issue, convinced him to drop his bid for state office.
"I've invested a lot of time here," said Frederick, who has served on the town commission for 10 years, eight as mayor and two as police commissioner.
One incumbent and two challengers will seek two commisioners' spots Saturday, Aug. 10, as voters go to the polls in Rehoboth Beach.
Commissioner Betty Ann Kane and challengers Mark Aguirre and Joe Hill are candidates in the resort town's election. Mayor Sam Cooper is unopposed in his re-election bid.
Kane, 61, is a two-term incumbent. She lives in Washington, D.C., where she owns a government relations firm; her Rehoboth Beach home is on Maryland Avenue. Kane holds one of the two seats up for grabs this year. Commissioner Jack Hyde, who did not seek re-election, is vacating the other seat.
Aguirre, 42, a two-year resident, is making his second run for the board. The Sussex Avenue resident, who owns a Washington, D.C., development company, lost a bid for election last year by nine votes.
Hill, 58, is a lifelong Rehoboth Beach resident. An associate real estate broker, he ran for commissioner about 20 years ago.
The two candidates with the most votes will take office Aug. 19.
Rehoboth Beach's charter allows for three of its six commissioners to be non-resident property owners.
Both Kane and Hill have said minimizing the impact of the city's $12 million revitalization project would be their top priority.
Aguirre said he would like to see a more diverse business sector in Rehoboth Beach in an effort to keep traffic off Route 1 just outside the city.
Reducing the creel limits for tautog in 2003 is one option to be discussed at a Thursday, Aug. 22 public meeting.
The state Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife, will hold a public workshop beginning at 7:30 p.m. to discuss options for reducing tautog fishing mortality in Delaware by 29 percent. The hearing will take place in DNREC's auditorium at the Richardson and Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover.
Options for the tautog mortality reduction include reducing the creel limit, changing the season, or a combination of these factors, by April 1, 2003. The 29 percent reduction is mandated by a regional Fishery Management Plan of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
A public hearing on the tautog reduction options will be held in December.
For questions concerning the workshop, or to submit written comments, contact Jeff C. Tinsman, Division of Fish and Wildlife, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901; telephone, (302) 739-4782.
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