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Concerning Kuhns’ desperate attack on Mills

July 23, 2020

I was shocked and dismayed when I read the letter in last Friday’s edition of this paper from Mayor Paul Kuhns viciously attacking his opponent in the upcoming Rehoboth election as a “community gadfly” who has accomplished little or nothing during his longtime distinguished service to the city. Not only was the tone of the mayor’s letter extremely mean-spirited, but its content was grossly unfair and inaccurate. 

The mayor’s principal allegation is that Stan Mills was part of his predecessor’s administration without having made positive contributions to the city. Has the mayor forgotten that just seven months ago Stan received the Mae Hall McCabe Award, the highest honor given by the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, which Mayor Kuhns has served as president? In its presentation, the chamber saluted Stan Mills’ “tireless commitment” and “outstanding service” to the city.

Has the mayor forgotten that he too was part of his predecessor’s administration, having served almost two full (non-consecutive) terms as a commissioner in that prior administration? What did he accomplish during those years? Apparently not very much, because when he ran for re-election after his first term, city voters turned him out of office. 

The mayor attempts to take Stan Mills to task for supporting but failing to achieve a streetscape improvement project for Wilmington and Baltimore avenues. But where was the mayor during the years when he was a commissioner and that project was being discussed? He says he supported it then and supports it now. But he’s been city mayor and commission president for nearly three years, and the project has yet to surface as one of his priorities. 

The mayor has consistently supported “economic development” projects that he claims would put the city on a better budgetary and fiscal track, but many of those projects (e.g., the Jolly Trolley, the redevelopment of Lake Gerar Park, the canal dock) would cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars without any evidence that they would generate significant revenues for the city’s coffers. Has the mayor forgotten that he proposed to give away the city’s sewer treatment facility, which does generate revenues for the city, to Sussex County?

The mayor says he wants to meet the needs of the city’s residents and second homeowners. Has he forgotten that it was his predecessor’s administration that passed limitations on the size of homes in the city’s residential areas, and that those limitations have been reaffirmed overwhelmingly by residents and property owners in two separate referendums, thereby preserving the “small town” character and charm of the city?

The mayor’s Rehoboth home is for sale, and he is already spending a substantial amount of time in Florida and Maine. Perhaps the rumors are true that he intends to resign without serving a full term, leaving a majority on the commission to appoint a successor who could not have won in this year’s mayoral election, but who will continue to pursue his priorities in favor of the business community. Even if these rumors are inaccurate, moreover, his frequent absences from the city and apparent lack of full-time attention to its affairs is of great concern.

I’ve known Mayor Kuhns for over a decade, during which he has generally been a model of civility even with those of us who have frequently disagreed with his positions and actions as a former commissioner and mayor. I find it very sad that he is so desperate to be re-elected that he has resorted to name-calling, personal attacks, and spreading falsehoods about Stan Mills’ many outstanding accomplishments during his 12 years as a commissioner.

Julie Davis
Rehoboth Beach

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