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Rodney Square bus advocates secure legal help in new push for Gov. Carney's emails

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

Advocates say they’ve secured legal representation to continue their effort to restore the bus hub at Rodney Square.

The Coalition to Restore the Rodney Square Bus Hub has been trying to see Gov. John Carney’s unredacted email exchanges with Wilmington business leaders for a year. The business leaders were advocating for reducing bus traffic in the downtown area, arguing it contributed to crime.

Coalition leader John Flaherty said the ACLU of Delaware has agreed to fight for the unredacted emails on the group’s behalf.

Carney released redacted copies of his emails and Attorney General Matt Denn declined to force release of unredacted copies. Flaherty says the ACLU will likely submit another open records request, then may file a legal challenge after that.

“There really wasn’t any public interest here," he said. "Gov. Carney was ordered to remove to remove the buses from Rodney Square by downtown business interests who don’t ride DART and don’t like DART. You know, I can understand that. But that’s not how public policy should be conducted.”

Flaherty argues private interests seem to have an undue influence over public policy. But he doesn’t blame them.

“You can’t blame the developers, you can’t blame these guys for wanting to cheat like Yogi Berra used to do," he said. "He cheated fair and square. If he could get away with it, he would do it. And it was the umpires’ fault for that happening. And the umpires in this case are government officials.”

The Wilmington Transit Center is expected to be finished by the end 2019, but Flaherty said that will not replace the need for a hub at Rodney Square.

Flaherty also plans to request information on a meeting involving the chief magistrate of the Justice of the Peace Court and a representative from the Buccini/Pollin Group, a firm that also advocated for removing buses from downtown.

The court, the city of Wilmington, and Wilmington Police Department have recently come under legal scrutiny for no contact orders for vagrancy offenders that bar access to the downtown area or the entire city.

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