Posted: Feb. 20, 2004
A WARM DAY IN FEBRUARY FOR SHERRY FREEBERY
The smart money in New
Castle County was supposed to be on Sherry L. Freebery inside of a
courthouse by now, and it would be a warm day in February before she
was outside a courthouse, announcing for public office.
Well, it was a warm day in
February on Friday, and so there was Freebery, the county's chief
administrative officer with attitude, standing in front of the
famous 18th Century courthouse in old New Castle, kicking off an
in-your-face campaign to succeed two-term Democratic County
Executive Thomas P. Gordon, her boss at least on the organizational
Freebery declared her
candidacy even though U.S. Attorney Colm F. Connolly has been
investigating the Gordon-Freebery administration since 2002 and even
though the Democratic Party hierarchy is all but openly rooting for
County Council President Christopher A. Coons to win the next
four-year term for county executive.
Freebery announced without a
whiff of an indictment and without a whiff of a Democratic Party
official in a crowd of about 100 people, and she sounded as though
all that turmoil suited her just fine.
"Sometimes I have generated
a little controversy, but for sure there are always great
things going on," Freebery said.
Naturally Gordon was there
with her, as he has been for 30 years since they were county police
officers together, climbing the ranks until Gordon became chief and
then she did, before he was elected county executive in 1996 and won
a second term in 2000 without so much as a Republican to oppose him.
They both spoke proudly of
the administration's record -- no tax increases, a fat surplus, land
use reform, new parks and libraries, more police and paramedics.
Never mind that their critics say they did it with a police
mentality of intimidation, turning the county into a palace guard
that involved itself enough in elections to light Colm Connolly's
Freebery took something of a
shot at the others who want to be county executive, both Coons and
Republican Christopher J. Castagno, the New Castle City Council
president who will be announcing his own candidacy at the same
courthouse next week.
Coons and Castagno are
regarded by their parties as prime material for higher office, and
that left Freebery scoffing. She said she would never seek any other
elected office but county executive, so she would be free of
trimming her decision-making to the political winds, as others might
"I have not learned yet the
subtle act of compromising to achieve popularity," she said.
A handful of Democratic
county elected officials showed up for the announcement, but not all
of them were with Freebery. Councilwoman Patty W. Powell, elected in
2002 with Gordon-Freebery backing, was committed -- "I can't be for
two people," she said -- but Councilman J. Robert Woods was not
"I want Democrats to control
county executive, so I'll be at Coons' announcement, too," Woods
Freebery considers old New
Castle her home turf. She grew up there, she said, and played on the
very courthouse steps where she announced. James J. Freebery Sr.,
her grandfather, was the city police chief during Prohibition, and
Freebery said when she became the county police chief in 1996, she
went in full uniform to pay her respects at his grave.
James Freebery lies quietly
in the cemetery of St. Peter's Catholic Church in New Castle. It is
quite unlike his granddaughter, who is not going quietly yet.
# # #
FORMER DELAWARE REPORTER WRITES ON RUMSFELD
When American Flight 77
crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld rushed from his desk to the impact site to help
rescue the wounded. Later, from the safety of a vault-like security
center within the burning Pentagon, Rumsfeld called President George
"This is not a criminal
action," he told the president. "This is war."
declaration of war is revealed for the first time in a book by
veteran national security reporter Rowan Scarborough.
While covering government
and the courts from the (Wilmington) News Journal's Dover Bureau
from 1981 to 1986, Scarborough earned a reputation as a thorough and
fair investigative reporter who cultivated sources and a keen eye
For the last 15 years he
has been Pentagon correspondent for the Washington Times. He is one
of the most respected – and news-breaking -- defense reporters in
Now Scarborough has
written "Rumsfeld's War," 255 pages, published by Regnery Publishing
Inc. of Washington, D.C., and due in bookstores Monday.
In "Rumsfeld's War,"
Scarborough takes the reader deep inside the Pentagon to show in
detail how Rumsfeld -- once the nation's youngest secretary of
defense and now its oldest --took control of the Pentagon and
turned it into a "house of warriors." Leading the global war on
terror, in both open and covert missions, Rumsfeld is revealed as a
tireless dynamo focused on his primary goal: killing terrorists.
"Rummy" and scores of his friends and colleagues, including former
President Gerald Ford, economist Arthur Laffer, former Speaker of
the House Newt Gingrich and many members of the military.
Scarborough also reveals
other sides of the man who ran with the bulls in Pamplona, battled
the bulls on Wall Street, gave the nation NutraSweet, was a champion
wrestler, is a fierce squash player and co-owns a ranch with
longtime friend and CBS anchor Dan Rather.
Scarborough concludes that Rumsfeld's
task of reconfiguring the military and fighting the war on terror is
so immense that it will take the light of history to determine
exactly what he finally accomplished and at what he failed. For now,
he is America's man in the Pentagon.
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