NOTE: The error in the story below, which will not be changed as originally written, is that Representative Pete Schwartzkopf of the 14th district, is NOT the son of Desert Storm's General Schwartzkopf. I dunno, I read this somewhere but I am wrong. Now read on....
It's a story that mesmerizes political junkees, amuses the sophisticated, and exasperates the sensible. The participants include a son of a great army commander, a son of the Vice-President, a Sheriff whose picture should be under the word "sheriff" in the dictionary, a religious staunchly conservative county councilman beloved by his constituents, and a wannabe up and coming politico.
The events include kicks to the groin, totally non-believable sniffing self-righteous politicians, a cruel ejection of a hard-working political activist, and many, many lies.
It's a story that a fiction writer could not make up.
Let's get all the fair and balanced out of the way. I know all the people involved but I am not BFF to any of them. Some of them are my Facebook buddies, some are the Chair to my secretarial position, some I still reluctantly support. I am a Conservative leaning center-right like most of my fellow citizens in Sussex county Delaware. I have interviewed many of the parties in this whole affair but I by no means have the full story and as difficult as it might be to believe, some of the participants might have lied to me.
Anyone can post comments to this assessment without bother of sign in but I will not respond to comments as I am a Blogger who believes that what I post is pretty much what I think and I'm not going to waste my time and brain talent arguing with individuals. I've no doubt that the Republicans in Name Only will jump in with their monkey frenzies for a RINO will reach across the aisle with polished fingernails and gentle smiles but will rip of the head of any member of its own base that would dare question their wisdom and superiority as they rip out the eyeballs for a snack and chew on the tongue for the main course.
The hooting, hollering monkey RINOS of Delaware love to point their soft-skinned fingers to the rapscallions of Sussex county and the story of Vance Phillips, the county councilman, Jeff Christopher-the Sheriff of Nottingham, Eric Bodenweiser, the somewhat hapless fellow who got pulled into the conflict God knows why...will forever be the stuff of Sussex county lore.
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As well it should be. It's just a great story and somebody has to document it from soup to nuts. Absolutely nothing so colorful will ever happen up Wilmington way as such hassles might muss head hairs and scratch delicate skin. I have some conclusions that I daresay most readers will agree. It's what I do. I'm a Blogger, beholden to no one and probably read by few.
There is a Sheriff of Sussex county Delaware. I've lived here for about nine years and only recently did I learn that Sussex even had a Sheriff. I'm from Baltimore, I worked for a property management firm. Baltimore Sheriffs were the guys who put the goods of folks who didn't pay their rent onto the street. This is how I see Sheriffs. And evidently it's pretty much the same scenario in Sussex county as it is the duty of the sheriff's office to serve summons and evict non-rent or mortgage payers.
For the Sheriff's part, well he has issues. According to Sheriff Christopher, serving papers to the about-to-be-evicted is hardly any kind of peaceful job. The Sheriff's office, as well, is a first responder to what is called a PFA call, a "protection from Abuse", the call that comes in from a frightened wife scared by a threatening, perhaps drunk, husband. When the Sheriff of a deputy responds to these PFA calls and should something go awry, the Sheriff or the deputy can't arrest the often angry and intoxicated abuser. Sheriff Christopher will tell you with a firmness that the Sheriff's office in Sussex county CAN arrest people. His bigger concern is that his deputies are not properly trained to make arrests and/or detain the arrestee to the most peaceful and lawful result. Sheriff Christopher wants bigger vehicles than provided by the Sussex county council and he wants his deputies trained by the DSP. He also wants an additional deputy assigned to his office so he may begin neighborhood watch programs and otherwise engage the Sussex Sheriff's office in community outreach efforts.
Vance Phillips would tell you that Jeff Christopher wants to create a big Sussex county fiefdom; that he has visions of a mighty Sussex county Sheriff's office that would give him more power and prestige.
So who is Vance Phillips?
Vance sees Sheriff Christopher's entire attempt to expand his department, and bear in mind that the Sheriff IS elected in Sussex county, as being a massive over-reach, an attempt for Christopher to create a mighty kingdom on the taxpayer's dime.
This rivalry of Sussex county Sheriff and county council would ordinarily be the stuff of petty local politics. When all is said and done it is the council that holds the purse strings and like America's House of Representatives it is the body that holds the power with its control of the dollars.
Except Jeff Christopher is a tenacious fellow and he isn't going to accept a head pat and a warning to play nice. So Christopher came up with a plan to enlist a local up-and-coming politico via a method somewhat unique to Sussex county. For Sussex county was the main source of the recent rollicking candidacy of Christine O'Donnell, that female upstart who dared to run against Mike Castle, that old has-been who got up every day and put on Republican clothes and pretended to be a Republican as he voted for all things Democrat. The Republican party, at least at that time, in Sussex county, was a joke of a thing, surreptitious partners with the Democrats, a bunch of sniffing Blue Bloods who thought O'Donnell's candidacy was a joke and who worked against her during the general election even though she'd won the Republican primary via the vote of us silly moron voters who don't know anything.
It took over a year but Sussex county systematically threw out all those Blue Blood elite Republicans and installed a Sussex county Republican party that actually had rules and monthly meetings with actual attendees. Mike Castle's controlled Republican party went through the motions of being some sort of political organization but all at the direction of Castle and the Wilmington elites. You push people too far and here's a concept, sometimes they push back.
The Sussex county Republican party began to do something called issuing a "sense of the party". Sussex county Republicans were still smarting from so many years of the mighty Mike Castle era, where he smiled and told us he was on our side then routinely voted against our interests. Sussex County Republicans, silly, silly folks all, decided that lest the elected officials that they worked so hard to elect should suddenly develop deaf ears to what WE wanted, that they would be sure and let them know. At first, with the freedom of the task, at monthly meetings the air was filled with motions to send this "sense of the party" to that elected guy, or that "sense of the party" to this elected rep over here. Eventually rules had to be crafted for these "sense of the party" motions as even the heathens in Sussex county learned that a calm and collected rationale was required rather than continuing motions made, spit out and yelled to acceptance in the heat of the moment.
Still and so, the option of voting for a "sense of the party" by the Republican party was available to Sheriff Christopher to be sent to the Sussex county council. He only had to find a member of the Sussex county Republican party with enough clout to push through such a resolution. Understand that the elected political people are under no obligation to vote the way these sense of the party resolutions go but just in case, like Mike Castle before, they will know how those who elected him or her feel and such could be calculated in their votes/actions.
Enter Eric Bodenweiser.
I like Eric. Hell, I like Vance. I like Jeff Christopher, who I'd met personally at an RDC meeting and heard often on the local talk radio station, WGMD. I also like Glen Urquhart, who is now the Chairman of the Sussex county Republican party. Glen ran to fill Castle's Delaware seat, along side of Christine O'Donnell, who took the primary away from Castle and ran to fill the Biden Senate seat that Castle wanted. I pretty much like all the parties involved in this sad affair except for the Democrat Pete Schwartzkopf, who also is involved in this drama. Pete Schwartzkopf's father, yes, is the famous General Schwartzkopf of Desert Storm, the battle that sent Saddam Hussein running home from an attempt to take over Kuwait.
So Eric Bodenweiser was probably trying to make his mark, to show a little muscle, to work at the grass roots level to push through an agenda in which he believed. When Eric called me up to ask me if I would vote for his sense of the party resolution he was going to offer before the Sussex county monthly Republican meeting I asked him if this was important to him. He told me it was, that he was going to have Jeff Christopher come and speak at our next RDC meeting in case I had any questions. I told Eric I would pay attention to Christopher's presentation but all things being equal, I would support his sense of the party resolution for the Sussex county to increase funds for the Sussex Sheriff's office that the elected Sheriff could better do his job as he was elected to do. Understand that I wasn't all that worried about this matter but you pick your battles in this life. I thought it was an innocuous enough concept and remember that the Sussex county council did not have to do a damn thing about such a resolution but again, it does put some pressure on the elected bodies getting such a sense of the party resolution.
Indeed I did hear Jeff Christopher out the night he made his case in front of the 37th RDC. Please note that I am that RDC's secretary so I took all the notes from that meeting. Jeff Christopher, well he does okay in making his case but he tends to be full of a lot of goobly speak, such as "Section such-and-such of paragraph so-and-so states….yada, yada, yada", the sort of stuff that makes a person looking for the point of it all get droopy eyed. Christopher spoke this way on WGMD when he was interviewed by some of the talk show hosts and by me it didn't serve his cause all that well. There was also a discrepancy about how much all this would cost. Christopher alleged that the cost of training his deputies would be minimal and that he could get the larger vehicles he wanted to transport criminals real cheap from the Department of something or other…..hell I was taking notes and couldn't get the amount pinned down. I think it was around 50K the first year and maybe 5K a year after. The cars, Christopher maintained, could be had for $10K each and he had a deputy capable of training the other deputies so that cost would to o be minimal. Let's not be fooled here, I think the Sheriff underplayed, or outright didn't know, the cost of his proposed expansion and even us morons in Sussex county understand that what begins as a cost in the government tends to greatly increase. The members of the 37th RDC did pass an agreement to support Eric as he presented his sense of the party resolution to the Sussex Republican party, the resolution being :
Resolution to the Sussex County Council Regarding the Office of the Sheriff of Sussex County
Whereas the Office of the Sheriff of Sussex County is the only law enforcement position in the county that is elected and accountable directly to the People, and
Whereas Sheriff Jeff Christopher campaigned and was elected on a platform of personnel training and certification, and
Whereas minimum state standard training certification of the Office of Sheriff’s Deputies is consistent and in keeping with our State Constitution and the provisions therein, and
Whereas minimum state standard training certification will; be at minimum cost, offer increased services to the residents and visitors of Sussex County and reduce the potential for future financially devastating lawsuits, and
Whereas crime continues to escalate in Sussex County, especially in Georgetown, Millsboro, Oak Orchard and Long Neck, minimum state standard training certification would allow Sussex County added security.
Now, therefore be it resolved that the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Sussex County endorses and supports Sheriff Jeff Christopher’s initiative to receive minimum state standard training certification for the current staffing of the Deputies of the Office of the Sheriff of Sussex County, and
Further, we express our sincere appreciation to our Sussex County Council for their perseverance and dedication to managing costs, keeping taxes low and making Sussex County a better place to live, and
Finally, the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Sussex County respectfully asks the Sussex County Council to look favorably on this most needed step forward and endorse this minimum state standard training certification measure.
Eric Bodenweiser, RDC 37th , SCRP, Author and Sponsor, 9/28/11
I wasn't in attendance the night of the monthly Sussex county meeting when Eric presented his sense of the party proposal. I did provide Eric with what was called a proxy, a form that allowed an appointed replacement to vote for the issue on my behalf. Thus I did not witness the uproar over Eric's proposal but as I understand it the whole issue was viciously opposed by the other Sussex executive committee members, which includes all RDC's, EDC's and the members of the elected positions, Chairman, Sec., Treas., etc.. I can understand opposition to the proposal, whatever the reason, but I'm at a loss to explain the viciousness. "It's like I was trying to legalize abortion," Eric told me.
Whatever the truth of the atmosphere that night Eric's proposal was defeated, so it was. There would be no sense of the party resolution involving the Sheriff and as submitted by Eric Bodenweiser to be sent to the Sussex county council.
Life goes on in Sussex county. Eric B continued on as the 37th RDC and he continued his weekly reports on the local WGMD station as is his wont, for which he pays and which he does for reasons of his own. It is, last I looked, a free country, and for the right price for air time, Eric , or anyone else, is free to go on the air and say pretty much anything that doesn't violate FCC, or WGMD's, standards. Eric always presented himself as speaking only for himself, NOT the Republican party, though such distancing is often considered a joke.
Somebody, somewhere, it's not at all clear who, arranged a meeting between Vance Phillips and Sheriff Jeff Christopher at the Republican party headquarters in Georgetown, Delaware. It is widely rumored that Glen Urquhart himself arranged the meeting but let me state right here, as I identified myself as a Blogger during a recent phone call to me by none other than Glen Urquhart, that he denied any involvement in arranging this meeting. Lots of other people tell me this is a lie, that Glen perhaps set it up via an intermediary but he was behind it. Which makes one, specifically me, wonder why Glen did this, if he did. I speculate that it might have been part of a prior arrangement between Vance and Glen in exchange for Glen's active stance AGAINST Eric's resolution, but again, this is speculation.
Because what happened in the Sussex county Republican headquarters that night is the stuff of weird and wild and more tragedy ensued after that.
As previously arranged by someone, Sheriff Christopher and Vance Phillips showed up at the meeting. There were two witnesses as I understand it. One was a gentleman named Fred Silva. I know Fred but not all that well. He seems like a nice enough fellow. I don't know who the other fellow was, perhaps John Raleigh, the Vice Chair of the Sussex Republican party? I asked Eric and a few other people, why Fred Silva? No one knew why but Mr. Silva is viewed as a perfectly nice fellow.
It would seem that at some point Councilman Phillips and Sheriff Christopher got into a disagreement. Said disagreement got physical when, as alleged, Phillips threw a notebook at the Sheriff. Allegedly the corner of the notebook hit the Sheriff in the eye causing a scratch on his retina and necessitating a trip to the eye doctor. What happened next is unclear. It is speculated that, in retaliation one might suppose, that the Sheriff lunged at Councilman Phillips. Perhaps in order to defend himself from attack, Councilman Phillips jumped up and kneed the Sheriff in the groin. The Georgetown police were NOT called immediately after the incident. Allegedly the Sheriff did not go to the hospital but, instead, showed up at the door of Eric Bodenweiser, it’s not clear why.
Allegedly the incident WAS reported to the Georgetown police the next day by the Sheriff with a demand that Councilman Phillips be prosecuted. The Georgetown police, for whatever reason, turned the whole matter over to Delaware’s Attorney General, the son of our current Vice-President, Beau Biden, son of Joe. As of this writing, Beau Biden has done nothing at all regarding the incident, no one knows why but WGMD’s Dan Gaffney has been pleading over the airways for any kind of response by the AG’s office, either yay or nay.
As for Eric B….he then began a campaign of foot-in-mouth gaffes, when he, to three media organizations, asserted that to avoid any nasty prosecution or court cases, that Councilman Phillips should grant the Sheriff his requests as a more expedient solution to the entire matter.
The week following the scuffle at GOP headquarters in Georgetown, Delaware, Councilman Phillips was flying some sort of tiny non-standard type of airplane and it crashed. Phillips crushed a vertebrae and as of this writing I believe he is still in either a hospital or a rehabilitation center. He is able to move his legs and Phillips regularly uploads pictures of himself in rehab exercises or posing with visitors to Facebook. It was a most tragic event but for now it would seem that Phillips is going to recover.
The saga continued on, however, for Eric Bodenweiser. I personally didn’t see any big deal to Eric’s assertions that the Sheriff should get his desires in return for NOT prosecuting Phillips for the attack. Understand it’s not something I would say, it does kind of seem like a form of mild bribery, it definitely can be viewed as politically incorrect. Eric was, no mind his denials, a spokesperson of sort of the Sussex county Republican party. As I understand it, Eric was being told by everyone up and down the pipeline to keep his yap but Eric was having a good old time of it, enjoying his fame, perhaps feeling somewhat vindicated by what he considered his maltreatment by the Sussex county GOP by their rancor to his sense of the party resolution. But again, I thought it a bit refreshing for a political type to say publicly the sort of thing that happens behind closed doors, who are we kidding here?
Heh. Enter Pete Schwartzkopf. Ole Pete is one of Sussex county’s Democrats, representing Sussex county’s large homosexual community in Rehoboth Beach, an entrenched politico is Pete but I caution those not familiar with Sussex county, our homosexual community is very, very conservative, often wealthy and strongly partnered homo or bisexuals. We might be heathens in Sussex county, but we live side by side peacefully with our Rehoboth homosexual brethren and I daresay most of us would fight for them with a force should they be threatened by harm. Wilmington has never had to prove such a thing and wouldn’t do near as well should they ever, as I assert.
So ole Pete got all insulted over the smirky comments by Eric B about trading off jail time for Phillips’ cooperation with the sheriff monies. Not that, perish the thought, any Democrat on this planet would ever be involved with such a thing. Not that , don’t even think it, such a thought would ever have crossed the mind of any politician and shame on Eric B for saying such things out loud, to dare to utter such thoughts to see the light of the sun, to breath the air of the atmosphere. The rule is to keep such things locked within, to be spoken of only in the proverbial smoked-filled rooms.
The very noble Pete Schwartzkopf wrote a scathing letter to the local News Journal, known as the News Urinal in Sussex, vilifying Eric for daring to suggest politicians would ever, EVER I TELL YOU, even think such a thing, goodness his halo verily shone off the pages.
Eric Bodenweiser needed to be punished. He needed to be cut off at the knees, hoisted by his own petard, broken down and beaten like a rented mule.
He was. It’s one thing to make other factions in your own party mad. Such things are minor, the stuff of fluff. But to anger the GUYS ACROSS THE AISLE???? Man, that’s bad stuff. The elite Republicans were mad and I bet Vance Phillips was none too happy with Eric. Not inferring this means anything, jus’ sayin’.
In a bit of parliamentary masterpiece, Glen Urquhart managed to both over-ride the hard-won new Sussex Republican party rules as well as get Eric Bodenweiser removed from his job as the 37th RDC. The rules, written when the Sussex Republican party was in the throes of separation from the more elite northern part of the GOP, were once a source of great pride, the executive committee of the Sussex county GOP threw out the rules first chance they applied by over-riding them with Robert’s Rules of Order.
As I understand it, the Sussex rules called for a notice of two months to be given to an RDC needing to be thrown out for being politically incorrect or however the reason is couched. Eric, a bit of a schemer he is, figured since he had two months to get “official” notice that he was to be ousted, that he’d not show up the night that he knew the vote would get taken. This was November. Eric knew that no business was conducted in December so he’d ride it out to early next year, when, he said, other things would come his way. Whatever that meant.
But the Sussex GOP was mad because dag, Pete Schwartzkopf said something bad about them and Eric B was just incorrigible, his mind not open to proper political protocol.
Only seven people out of over seventy voted to keep Eric in as a Sussex RDC. I was one of them.
Aw come on, this whole thing with Eric was really over-kill. I mean voting to overturn the rules to get back at the scheming Eric, Lord knows a Blue Blood Delaware Republican elite would never deign to scheme and plot like Eric did, like Eric was doing for why? To keep his job as a Sussex county RDC? To keep going out and signing up voters, to go on WGMD and keep the party alive in front of the public? DAMN HIS HORRIBLE SELF!!!
Of course Eric was a bit ham-handed with it all. But Eric Bodenweiser never held an RDC meeting that anyone would be ashamed of. He made sure all attendees were signed in, he pre-published an agenda, he stayed to the agenda during meetings, he regularly scheduled pertinent speakers to address the meeting, including Sheriff Christopher to address EDC concerns over the issues of his proposed resolution. I been hearing a lot about how bad Eric Bodenweiser is, let me be one of the first to step up and list what he did RIGHT. Last week he paid for a catering service to come and dish up meals for Sussex countians to come and hear from one of Delaware’s prestigious think tanks, Cesar Rodney…CRI, raise some money.
Eric Bodenweiser just wasn’t all that bad to be delivered of a fate that, here’s the worst part, will continue to come back and haunt him for many years. Suppose he does want to try again a run at an elected office? I know it’s not easy to imagine but try it, the Democrats or a Bodenweiser primary opponent wouldn’t use this forced and unceremonious expulsion by the Sussex Republican party against him? See, this punishment didn’t just cause pain for the “crime” committed, Eric’s going to pay far more in the future than ever was warranted by what he said, get a grip.
I heard Eric make a sincere apology in front of the election group of 37th RDC executive committee. We voted in a new guy but most important, Eric graciously withdrew his nomination from consideration in what might have been an attempt to win the RDC of the 37th again for the joy of all that drudge work.
So we’ll move on from Eric Bodenweiser as he’ll somehow bounce back. I think he’s a nice guy like I thought Christine O’Donnell was a nice lady and like Tom Petty, I won’t back down just cause the Delaware Blue Blood elite have painted their bad guy and we should all join in to the nominee for mockery as so dictated. For their quirks, O’Donnell and Bodenweiser didn’t smile in my face while peeing upon my feet for voting against what I held dear,like Mike Castle did, and that right there’s a big deal to me. Sure, a future with them elected might have angered me too but the Blue Blood GOP elite continue to tell me that Mike Castle was just the greatest and we should continue to support him, Lord, when does THAT end?
As of this writing, the parties to the drama have continued on, WGMD continues to talk about it, the big score would be to get Vance Phillips. Vance is recovering nicely in a hospital in PA last I heard. Vance has been completely mum about the incident.
Ole Pete Schwartzkopf smiles himself to sleep every night for having made the mighty Sussex Republican party fall to their knees like a wounded, bellowing cow.
Eric Bodenweiser either has a plan or will disappear completely. I’m thinking he has a plan.
Sheriff Christopher continues to be interviewed by everyone with a microphone and as concerning Sheriff Christopher, I’ve got the secret to his failure to get what he wants. Yes I do and for not a dime I’m going to tell Mr. Christopher why he keeps failing in getting the Sussex county council to give him money to expand his department.
CAUSE THERE’S NOT ENOUGH CRIME IN SUSSEX COUNTY!
There you have it, Sheriff Christopher. Cause the Sussex county council’s job is to please the citizens of Sussex county and those people, with the possible once-wobbly exception of Democrat Joan Deaver who came to Eric’s RDC meeting with Jeff Christopher and who told us all that she was on our side, that she’s going back and talk to the rest of those nasty Republicans on the council. Only last week Joan Deaver announces she supports the Sussex council of all matters with the Sheriff. Politicians, you gotta love ‘em.
Cause there’s not enough crime in Sussex county and that’s a fact. If suddenly a vicious and persistent assault on locked homes, the kind with residents living within would be best, were to occur, Sussex county would have a Sheriff and deputies driving around in Sherman tanks and armed with bazookas.
It’s how a democracy works and, in the end, it’s the citizens who decide such thing. Most Sussex county citizens would nod with a smile over Christopher’s ideas but the minute you tell them they might have to have a tax increase not a single Sussex countian would admit to feeling THAT strong about it.
It ain’t rocket science.
Sussex county GOP chairman Glen Urquhart has announced his plan to run for state senator for the newly formed 6th senatorial district in Sussex county. Oh yeah, did I mention that Sussex county is currently being re-districted and re-configured like random paper dolls cut by a mental patient? Of course they are carving out areas that Pete Schwartzkopf will surely win and a bone to Ruth Briggs-King. There’s also being formed a new representative district, the 20th, of which I am part so what a mess.
Glen Urquhart’s picture should be under the phrase “perfect Sussex county politico” in the GOP rulebook. I’m a bit paused by how he handled the Eric B incident and I think Glen might have lied to me recently. Now I have no problem with the lie, politicians lie. But I’m jus’ sayin’. Glen told me he did NOT arrange the meeting between the Sheriff and Vance Phillips. Lots of other people told me different.
Glen has a straightforward manner in addressing concerns, I think he did a great job of running the Sussex county monthly meetings, sorry Ron Sams.
I like Glen but he threw Bodenweiser under the bus a little too fast for my comfort. I understand throwing under the bus but it’s how soon you do it that says all about a politician.
Finally, Beau Biden, son of Vice-President Joe, has taken no action on this matter though come on, this is a joke. I’m thinking the AG office never heard a thing about this matter. Though I just speculate here. Vance Phillips is hospitalized, the possibility of at least SOME limited mobility in his future now his bogeyman. I don’t suppose it would be right to serve him with papers for his arrest for kicking the Sheriff in the nuts…did I say that?
The Delaware AG’s office could, I suppose, just say that the Phillips/Christopher matter has not been referred to his office and end it all so I dunno, it does seem to be a waste of time. Perhaps Vance and Christopher should just shake hands, maybe Vance buys the Sheriff a six pack of beer…no wait…you think they’ll eject me speculating like that in public?
However Jeff Christopher now has the benefit of my own wise wisdom and that should maybe knock my freedom of speech speculating down to just a censure.
Also, Christopher IS holding an elected position. Go out and use your ideas for your campaign backbone and trust the people and hear their voice. But deal with the fact that the citizens vote based on THEIR reality, not for the benefit of the politicians.
Man, what a concept.