Diller, Thomas run­ning for District 5 county coun­cil seat

Newark Post - - ELECTION PREVIEWS - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

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.



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