Voices From The Readers
Slots Is Taking Easy Way Out
I am writing in response to Mr. Jacobs' letter expressing his opinion that Ocean City is no longer a family resort and needs to focus on becoming an East Coast Las Vegas. He is not the first person to point out the amount of bars and clubs in Ocean City compared to other towns and insinuate that this makes our home a modern day Soddam and Gamorrah.
This is "incorrect and misleading" and that argument fails to point out that a majority of the bars are attached to restaurants, many of which are family oriented. Many of these licenses are classed in such a way that they require that a majority of the sales be derived from the sale of food. It also fails to mention that what Mr. Jacobs refers to as "most midsized towns" are not resort towns and do not have the demand for the same types of business. If we were to prescribe to this way of thinking, then we could also infer that Walt Disney World is not a family resort, which would be clearly incorrect. If there is a reason to have gambling, it certainly is not because we are no longer a family resort.
One only need take a trip to Atlantic City to realize that we already have an East Coast Las Vegas and it does not welcome independent business people or families, which are two of the things that make Ocean City such a special place. It also illustrates that gambling does not guarantee prosperity or increased property values but it does invite many of the woes that come with larger cities such as drugs, crime, prostitution etc. I operate several businesses on the Boardwalk and have the pleasure of watching thousands of families enjoy our beach and Boardwalk throughout the year. My business continues to prosper and people continue to return to the resort each year.
As for the recommendation that local businesses provide dice and cards, I think that I will continue to provide an opportunity for families, young and old, to enjoy meals together after a day spent enjoying the beach, Boardwalk, or fishing on our beautiful bay. Ocean City does not need or want gambling and state politicians should work a little harder to solve the problems that they and their predecessors have created rather than take the easy way out. If however I may make a suggestion maybe Mr. Jacobs could sell dice and cards on eBay to help offset those taxes.
(The writer is the owner of the Ocean View Grill and DaVinci's by the Sea.)
Let People Decide
A long time ago, I remember going to school and learning about the Constitution of the United States. I specifically remember "Of the People, By the People and For the People."
I wonder if our elected officials, the council members of Ocean City, the County Commissioners of Worcester County, the delegates who serve Wicomico and Worcester counties and our state senator have ever read that statement or if they understand what it means.
Let's talk about the slot machine issue. I see that the County Commissioners are against it 5 to 2. I see that Sen. J. Lowell Stoltzfus is against, Delegate Norman Conway is for, and Delegate Jim Mathias is against. The entire Ocean City council is against as they are afraid that it might take disposable money away from tourists, if and when they visit Ocean City.
So to balance the budget the legislature raised the room tax 2.5 percent and Worcester County another .5 percent, bringing the room tax up to 12 percent, the highest in the area. How much disposable money is that?
We are located right next to Delaware and they have slots at their racetracks. We run buses from here to Harrington, Dover and Atlantic City so people can play slots and gamble. Pennsylvania put in slots three years ago and their take for their treasury has been a cool $1.3 billion. I wonder how much of that money came from Marylanders.
Ocean City is semi-dead five months of the year. I wonder if any of the powers-that-be has given consideration to the fact that if slots came to Ocean Downs, maybe more people would visit the area, rather than leaving and going elsewhere.
Let's get back to "Of The People." I have read how the politicians voted. Who have they contacted? Who have they asked? Who are they representing? I thought that when you took an elected office that you were supposed to represent your constituents, to do their will, not vote your personal feelings.
Let's get this thing over with, take it to referendum, put it on the ballot and let the people vote. "Of the People, By the People and For the People." And when the vote is final, the elected officials should do the will of the people. If not, the people should and will remove them from office.
The Ocean City Development Corporation held its 7th Annual Golf Tournament on October 24th at Ocean City Golf Club, and its first for the newly renamed Art Davis Memorial Golf Tournament in honor of Art Davis, one of its founding members and well-known, long-time president of the Bank of Ocean City. Proceeds from this event will be applied towards the OCDC's revitalization efforts for downtown Ocean City. This event has raised over $100,000 to the OCDC over its seven years.
This year's tournament sponsor was Lankford-SYSCO Food Services, for the fifth year, which continues to show its support for downtown redevelopment. The OCDC appreciates the donation of many prizes from area businesses.
The OCDC would like to recognize the following businesses and individuals that provided monetary donations to the golf tournament: Atlantic Dental Associates, Bank of Ocean City, Patricia Ilczuk-Lavanceau, Taylor Bank, The Resort Golf Guide, Delmarva Power, Buchart Horn, Inc, and Pinnacle Design Development.
The OCDC wishes to thank Lankford-SYSCO, participating golf teams, hole-in-one sponsors, and each business that provided prizes to make this year's golf tournament another great success.
(The writer is the chairman of the OCDC's Art Davis Memorial Golf Tournament.)
And what were the top CEOs of Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays and Wachovia smoking when they bought billions of dollars of subprime mortgages and then packaged them into debt instruments called Collateralized Debt Obligations, which they then sold to other financial institutions worldwide. Now Stan O'Neil, the CEO of ML, and Charles Prince of CITI are out but they went with golden parachutes worth millions.
Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, had to know what was going on. He had to know that families with low credit scores should never have been allowed to purchase •€˜arms', adjusted rate mortgages which start with an attractive rate but then after a three- or four-year term the rate skyrockets and then monthly payments become impossible.
He could have put the word out back in 2003 and 2004 that only top credit rated families could buy •€˜arms' and he should have made it possible for less credit worthy families to get fixed rate mortgages. But instead, greedy mortgage brokers across the fruited plain pushed •€˜arms' to many naive families that did not require validated income but allowed interest only mortgages, no money down, etc. The subprime mortgage mess we see now was doomed from the outset.
While Alan is making the rounds of the Sunday TV shows, promoting his book, hundreds of thousands of families will be facing a very sad holiday season as they are pushed out of their home because of foreclosure. And in 2008 another million subprime mortgages are predicted to go into foreclosure.
And where were the three rating agencies, Moodys, S & P, and Fitch who put AAA ratings on the CDO's that held subprime mortgages, many of which went into foreclosure, which then contaminated the CDO's which held them. You have to wonder if the executives in these critical companies had the brains to pour milk out of a carton with the instructions on the bottom. Wait until congress wakes up to this financial disaster and watch the wave of investigations into why this terrible mess ever happened. Countrywide Financial was one of the most aggressive in originating $340 billion in subprime loans in the first 9 months of this year. Countrywide has already laid off 12,000 employees and that number could skyrocket as more mortgage originations plummet. Countrywide shares are down 80 percent this year.
If we end up with a recession in 2008, you will know why.