(FOREWORD: I once said that I would never question Richard Korn's motivations. That, however, was before the anti-everything establishment began to fit him for a crown as hero of the people. I waited for it to stop, hoped that reality would set in, but it looks like I waited and hoped in vain. So, I dug a little deeper into Korn's lawsuits, his publicity stunts and his prior political career in New York. This is the result.)
Richard Korn, who will announce his candidacy for State Representative in the 20th district on Friday, admirably moved to Delaware a few years ago to be closer to his ailing mother, but it didn't take long for him to begin following some familiar pursuits: suing governments, seeking publicity and trying to get elected. For someone who once claimed, "I didn't come here to run for office
," it didn't take him long to change his mind, and now he's doing it again, two years later.
Interestingly enough, the lawsuit he filed against New Castle County was nearly a mirror image to a similar suit he filed in 1988 against Nassau County, New York Administrator Tom Gulotta. The charge
: That the county illegally built up a surplus to be used in later years; a reserve orrainy day fund, if you will. Now, I'm certainly not one who likes to see people overtaxed, but as you can see today, the county needed that money, so the practice of creating a reserve fund was sound fiscal management.
Korn's suit cost the county time and money to defend. The outcome: Korn won
, then County Council automatically adjusted their policies to fit the money into their rules. Korn had to know this would happen, and that the net result of his suit would be nothing at all, but it was the best way to get his name out there for his obvious next move: running for New Castle County Executive. Again, eerily reminiscent of his Nassau County days
, where he successfully sued the county government, got a load of publicity, and then ran for the executive position. He clearly had a plan.
His race for County Executive here in Delaware never really got off the ground, and he was trounced in the primary. Perhaps he didn't have enough base support here, as evidenced by his using a Philadelphia lawyer named Stan Ellenberg as his campaign chair
and his limited in-state financial support.
Korn's next "coup" was helping to bring the CITGO home heating oil program to Delaware
through his wife's personal connections to the Venezuelans. It's something he should be applauded for, and he has clearly given people the opportunity to applaud. He staged a big press conference with the Venezuelan Ambassador, and again, somehow, he appeared in the paper. One question, though: If he's so close to the Venezuelans, and as some claim, the whole CITGO program was Korn's idea
, why did Delaware only get 1.15 million gallons of discounted oil
, when Rhode Island got 3.3 million gallons, despite having a similar per capita income
and weather conditions not tremendously unlike our own? (I know. I've lived in both places.) You would think we could get at least as good a deal as Rhode Island.
Feeling, I suppose, that his name had been out of the papers for too long, Korn next decided to file a complaint with the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division about Delmarva Power's 50%-plus increase, asking for an investigation
, stating that:
"Today, seven years after deregulation and choice was mandated by statute, a deregulated monopoly still exists. "DP&L" Delmarva Power & Light Company and "DEC" Delaware Electric Cooperative remain the only two residential electric distribution/suppliers in the state of Delaware."
He claimed the fact that there are only two suppliers in Delaware as evidence substantiating his charge. However, anyone who has given any thought to the situation quickly realizes that the price freezes of the last seven years are the reason
there's been no competition. Now that the caps have been lifted, at least one other provider, Washington Gas and Electric
, has already entered the market. So, the complaint is now moot, yet Korn's name, picture and transparent populist pandering made the paper yet again.
So, are we to assume Richard Korn had no plans to run for the 20th RD seat when he trotted out the Venezuelan Ambassador to a press conference or fired off a pointless letter to the Justice Department? Or is he the same type of opportunist politician we have come to know and love, one who claims allegiance to the people when we know that just under the surface is an ego-filled starvation for power and attention?
It's abundantly clear, for those who are open to seeing it, that Richard Korn simply wants an elected office with which to satisfy his decades-long thirst for electoral success, and a pulpit for publicity. Korn could have easily helped in the CITGO situation and sent the letter to the Justice Department without the press releases and press events, but that would not have raised his name ID to a sufficient level to run for office again. At this point, does anyone still believe that Richard Korn is the voice for the people?
Okay, arguments aside; let's look at the hard numbers. In 2004, both Korn and his opponent, Brian Moore, ran unsuccessfully for countywide seats; Korn, for County Executive, and Moore, for Clerk of the Peace. Breaking down the individual races into their vote totals specifically for the 20th district, you find that:
- Moore got 47% of the General Election
vote, nearly 5,000 votes, against Ken Boulden, who had been Clerk of the Peace for 8 years, was popular, and had performed his job competently.
- Korn got 164 votes, or 18% of the vote, in the Democratic Primary
, losing by almost a 4-to-1 margin to Chris Coons, and only outpolling controversial County CAO Sherry Freebery by 47 votes.
These numbers draw two conclusions. First, the people of the 20th RD clearly want to give Brian Moore a chance to represent them, even against an incumbent they approve of. Second, Richard Korn appears to have had little or no voting support in the 20th district, even among Democrats.
Certain people, especially the "anti-everything" types, will put a lot of emphasis on this race, due to Korn's populist leanings and media-grabbing antics, as the “us against the establishment” race. Some will treat it as if Korn is running against the entire legislature, when in truth he is running against Brian Moore to represent the people of the 20th district.
Brian Moore has earned it the right way, through many years of service to his community. A native of New Castle County, Brian has served others both professionally and civically his entire adult life. A former member of the Coast Guard Reserves, Moore is currently a Facilities Manager for the Red Clay Consolidated School District. He is the president of the Pike Creek Civic Association, the Limestone Hills Maintenance Corp. and is involved with the Delaware Police Athletic League as a member of its Board of Directors. He is also an 18-year veteran volunteer fireman and a Fire School Instructor.
Add all of this up and you see Brian Moore is truly involved on a day-to-day basis with the people of the 20th district, and he knows this Republican district and its people well from the ground up. This choice in this case is abundantly clear, and Moore should retain the seat. For Moore, by his actions over the long term, has proven himself to be the true ‘peoples champion’ in this race.
It is important to support Brian Moore with both your money, and if possible, your time. The address to send contributions is: Brian Moore for State Representative, 15 Bellmont Drive, Wilmington, DE 19808. Send $6 or send $600, whatever you can, and tack an extra $.o6 onto the end to let him know that the online community is behind him.
We don't need another self-serving, ego-driven politician in Dover looking to climb the political ladder. We need Brian Moore.cross-posted at delathought