The other shoe drops in Dewey Beach

November 29, 2019

Prior to the Dewey Beach election in September 2019, many residents, office holders and myself as a candidate, sought to gain full disclosure of information that could shed light on the actual condition of our town. We pressed Mayor Redefer regarding several situations, from the audit report, the Warren and Walton reports, to the lawsuits Dewey Beach is mired in. What we got was evasion, obfuscation, delays and stonewalling.

I ran on transparency in government and fiscal responsibility. I was convinced that we could quickly shift Dewey to competent and responsible management. I live a fairly private life, but despite not exactly being a household name, I lost by six votes to a candidate unwilling or incapable of properly filing his candidate documents and almost unseated the mayor, a well-known name, in losing to Redefer by only nine votes: nine votes! So, this is not an administration with any sort of mandate for their actions, to say the least.

Last week, we learned that another potentially catastrophic arrest and legal problem was kept hidden from the voters of Dewey Beach prior to the election (front page, Cape Gazette Nov. 22). This continues the pattern of hiding bad news until after the election, just like two years ago.

This newly revealed situation is very serious, because once again, our police department is involved, and it relates to accusations of police brutality and an officer previously involved in another such incident. Unfortunately, the claims appear highly credible and the cost to the town may be colossal! Sure, there is insurance, but what are the deductibles, and will we even be able to maintain insurance with this rate of lawsuit losses? I’m not so sure.

The town faces critical legal problems now, and the results of my litigation with the town would inevitably tie my name to a string of legal costs. Therefore, I have withdrawn my suit against Bauer et al. This does not in any way excuse his pre-election deceptions, and I will be keeping a very close eye on his claim to be a resident, for the future. However, my decision is also due to a recognition that we have a legal system, not a justice system.

I consulted with my attorney and there is no doubt my case would have been more poignant if I had known that the town takes the unconscionable position not to enforce its own codes, and that candidates must check up on each other for even the simplest representations to the voters. Contrary to the sideshow barkers, there were absolutely no financial considerations in this decision; not for my own, not for Mr. Bauer.

I believe enough folks that supported the Redefer/Bauer team in September may have a change of heart in the next 22 months. At that time, I may entertain another run, but for now, I urge them to focus on their current serious problems. Please join me in pressing for full disclosure of all the events affecting the future of Dewey Beach.

With great thanks to my supporters and all residents of Dewey Beach, all the best!

Philip Rowe
Dewey Beach resident


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