Diller, Thomas running for District 5 county council seat
Incumbent New Castle County Councilwoman Lisa Diller is running for reelection Tuesday against Republican John Richard Thomas.
Diller represents District 5, which includes most of Newark, plus other neighborhoods along the Route 4 corridor.
A resident of Williamsburg Village, Diller is a pastor and an adjunct professor at Wilmington University. First elected in a special election in 2009, she is seeking her third full term.
“I’m a big proponent of boring government,” she said. “If government is working well, you shouldn’t notice it.”
Diller said her priority is constituent services and quality-of-life issues.
She noted that she organizes annual “zombie house” walks in which volunteers canvass neighborhoods looking for homes that are vacant. They then pass the information on to the county’s code enforcement department.
If re-elected, she plans to continue working to crack down on the illegal use of ATVs and dirt bikes, which is a particular problem in parks and open spaces behind the neighborhoods along Route 4.
“People can’t use their backyards because these things are making so much noise anytime it’s a nice day,” Diller said. “It’s a lot of work to track them down, but it’s a quality-oflife issue.”
She is working on a program that would reward residents for turning in ATVs and dirt bikes that are being used illegally.
Another priority is seeing through improvements planned for Frank Hann Park in Scottfield, she said.
A big issue in District 5 over the past few years involved a housing development being built at the site of the former Our Lady of Grace orphanage. After an outcry from neighbors, state and county officials attempted to buy it for parkland, but the deal fell through.
Open-space advocates have been critical of Diller and other elected officials for not doing more, but Diller pushed back against that criticism.
“People tend to want to shut the door on anyone else moving in once they get there,” she said.
She said she understands concerns about added traffic but argued that the area no longer gets the commuter traffic it did when the Chrysler plant was in operation.
“If you have traffic, it’s because people want to be there,” she said. “If you don’t have traffic, it’s because people don’t want to be there.”
Thomas, a resident of Academy Hill, did not respond to a request for comment. The website and email address he registered with the Department of Elections are not valid, and a phone number listed on his campaign’s Facebook page did not work. He did not respond to a message sent to the Facebook account, which has not been updated since August.