Voices From The Readers
Council Wrong On Limits
I am writing in response to last week's article addressing the City Council limiting the volleyball tour's selling of alcohol and merchandise in front of Boardwalk storefronts.
A few members seem more concerned with their own pocketbooks for a weekend rather than the greater good of the city as well as believing that alcohol offered to the community will destroy our beach image. Maybe they should take a walk at a mid-town beach where drinking is allowed or check all beach coolers more closely. Parents on vacation want a drink on the beach while they relax. This is not the crowd that tends to be riot prone after a few tastes of a sponsor's product or a beer. This would be the same as having a drink at a ball game or other professional sporting event. Limiting the possibilities or revenue of an event before it has taken place seems foolish and self serving.
The Dispatch reported:
Councilwoman Margaret Pillas, who as a Boardwalk shop owner is rarely an advocate of outside merchants offering goods on the Boardwalk, was consistent with her thoughts.
'I'd really hate for us to compete with the Boardwalk businesses, and I don't even like that they are just going to give it away either,' said Pillas, 'but we need to be careful not to impair the businesses who are there to do business.'
'Mitrecic disagrees with any bit of sale or give-away of products on the Boardwalk, and unlike Pillas, who voted for the motion despite speaking out against it, stayed consistent.
'I've been steadfast my whole career on this, in fact I came before the council for the first time talking about how I was angry that a volleyball tournament was selling Gatorades in front of my store.'
Maybe someone should remind Mitrecic and Pillas that Gatorade is sponsoring free admission all day on Friday to the AVP event (people just have to bring a bottle or label of a Gatorade).
How about they focus on the upside that this event will have. Overall, I believe this event is an amazing thing to have in our town. The transformation of our beach will be astounding. They build a huge stadium and put on a top-notch show. They are bringing world-class athletes that have Olympic gold medals and countless worldwide top finishes. Many of these athletes have normal jobs and are great role models unlike the sports stars we see getting arrested for drugs, guns and other offenses that we have parades for in this town. Ticket prices each day have been lowered for families making it affordable for everyone to be a part of.
Finally, national exposure of our town will be on televised matches. What better way to show off our beach than have an Olympic hero celebrating on it? Sounds better and cheaper that a fake lifeguard running though traffic.
I just hope that the council has not put a sour taste in the mouths of the AVP and the sponsors of the event to the point where they don't want to return next year. Maybe the council will change their outlook after attending the event this weekend and do everything possible to make this an annual summer event with very few limitations.
I personally invite the council to attend the tournament with me on Friday and I will be sure to bring enough Gatorade bottles to get them all in for free. Then we can enjoy the VIP tent and a few drinks together.
Council Should Ban Tasers
Yes, our City Council should ban Tasers, and along with that they should require every honest, law-abiding citizen to wear a large sign stating: 'I am totally defenseless, so feel free to assault me without fear of injury to yourself.' Also, they should outlaw other dangerous weapons such as baseball bats, rocks, sticks, and dogs. And let's not forget the whole tool category. A lot of damage can be done by axes, screwdrivers, crescent wrenches, and hoes of all types. What about lawn mowers and weed eaters?
It is really quite simple. Honest, responsible citizens do not assault other people with Tasers or anything else. Criminals, by definition, don't abide by the law, so whether or not Tasers are banned, criminals will use them if they so desire. If outlawing potentially dangerous weapons actually prevented their use, then we wouldn't have the most violent gun crimes in cities with the strictest gun laws, like Washington, D.C.
As for the city solicitor's assertion that Tasers have caused deaths, apparently once Mr. Ayres forms an opinion, he sticks with it regardless of all evidence to the contrary. When he made this same claim a year ago, I forwarded to him considerable documentation refuting it, but nonetheless he persists in spreading this erroneous and misleading opinion. I challenge him to cite even one case where a Taser has been found by a court of law to have caused someone's death. One would think that an attorney would put more effort into insuring that his advice to the council is accurate. Perhaps he has just become complacent in his 'city solicitor for life' job. The fact is that Tasers have saved thousands of lives. They are a unique, non-lethal tool for police officers to use when a gun could injure innocent bystanders or hostages, or the perpetrator is mentally ill and not responsible for his actions.
As for Councilwoman Mary Knight's statement about preferring to shoot someone in the leg with a gun rather than risk killing him with a Taser, I think she has been watching too much TV. Only a fool tries to defend her own life by shooting her attacker in the leg. And actually people do die from being shot in the leg (there's that femoral artery problem). Did Mary inherit Nancy Howard's responsibility for making dumb statements at council meetings now that Nancy is gone?
And Chief DiPino should not be worried about her fellow police officers being tased. Honest, law abiding citizens wouldn't do that, and criminals won't buy Tasers because they know that guns are less expensive and more effective.
OC Is Anti-Environment
It's clear the Town of Ocean City doesn't let pesky little things like environmental concerns stand in the way of event sponsorship. As long as lots of fossil fuels can be burned and lots of noxious fumes can be emitted, the powers that be on this sandbar will endorse it.
Air shows, speed boat races, motorcycle weekends, pre-catalytic converter car cruising weekends or anything else that can pollute the air and water gets an automatic endorsement.
Of course, when Bluewater Wind wanted to put non-polluting, electricity-generating turbines more than a mile offshore, the city fathers immediately cried foul, express concerns about being able to see them from shore and essentialy nixed that idea. They'd much rather let WWII vintage airplanes and hopped-up Harley Hogs spew their noxious exhaust throughout the town because to them, that smells like money.
Occasionally, the town pays lip service to environmental concerns, but when there's potential for a quick buck to be made, Ocean City becomes chameleon-like and quickly turns from 'green' to a less-than-attractive shade of brown.Once the air and water here does the same, the town's days as a resort will be over.
Saluting Drivers, Cops
June 13, 2009 was a day to remember in Ocean City.
In my years as a transit driver for the town, I have rarely seen such a day. The crowds and traffic were beyond compare, yet all went smoothly. Thanks in large part to the transit drivers that went about their task of moving people in fine fashion, quietly, and without complaint.
But the bulk of my praise is reserved for OC's finest, the Ocean City Police Department. Everywhere one looked they were on the job displaying professionalism and patience. From the gent running the Route 50 traffic light at the bottom of the bridge, to the other officers stationed throughout the city, they were all displaying sound judgment and care.
I heard the same comments from many of my passengers and they are echoed here. They made the transit driver's job much easier. My hat's off to the men and women of the OCPD. It was a pleasure working with you and thanks for the superb job.
Harold C. Earls
County Wrongs Citizens
The Worcester County Commissioners' disingenuous column in last week's Worcester County Times claims that the recent consolidation and downsizing of three county departments (Comprehensive Planning, Environmental Programs, and Development Review and Permitting) was unpleasant but necessary due to lower projected revenues, and would result in 'more efficient and effective planning and land use services in Worcester County.' What really happened was that the developers won.
The County Commissioners are pressed from two sides: the developers apply pressure for their own short-term economic gain. The environmentalists apply pressure for the cuonty's long-term economic health. Recent events show that the commissioners have capitulated to the developers.
One of the disbanded departments, Comprehensive Planning, produced our award-winning Comprehensive Plan in 2006 •€' promoting smart growth. Review and Permitting took that Plan and watered it down to produce a weakened set of draft zoning regulations •€' and is now in charge of the consolidated staff.
As if that wasn't troubling enough, the commissioners fired or reassigned staff that would have been responsible for enforcing compliance with the current or the new zoning regulations.
For example, long-time Zoning Administrator Kelly Henry, who has a reputation for being an expert on compliance to the zoning code, has been reassigned to a newly created 'Technical Services Division' out of her area of expertise. Her position has been re-filled with an employee with only three years experience in the county, let alone dealing with zoning matters.
The Worcester County Commissioners' consolidation action was taken abruptly, behind closed doors, in consultation with only one of the three affected department heads, and after the budget was balanced (Cowger, Church, Purnell and Gulyas voted yay; Boggs, Shockley and Busick voted nay).
The commissioners have wronged us in Worcester County. I hope they can make it right.
Kim Quillin, Phd
Obama Needs To Step Up
Maryland is already feeling the impact of the climate crisis. The rising sea level consumes at least 260 acres of costal land in Maryland each year. Over the past decade, populations of the iconic Maryland blue crab have declined, and just last year the US Department of Commerce declared the Chesapeake Bay blue crab fishery a commercial failure. However, the Environmental Protection Agency announced last month that there is overwhelming evidence that greenhouse gases from fossil fuels endanger our health and welfare - which means that by law it has the ability to regulate emissions. This is good news to Marylanders and Americans everywhere. As Congress considers a climate bill that has been undermined by the fossil fuel industry, the Obama Administration has the ability to regulate carbon emissions free from politics and according to science. Now more than ever, we need the President to step up and take meaningful action that will address climate change, before it is too late.
Terrence De Jesus
Refocus Ad Agency Process
Ocean City's advertising agency search is not nearly as complicated as its tourism commission is portraying it.
First, the true purpose of this request for proposals is exactly the same as for any other product or service. That is, to essentially shop and compare: prices, features and benefits for the best solution to our particular needs, -- not necessarily to search for a new agency.
Based on MGH's apparent track record for improvisation, adaptability, resourcefulness and resilience, they could very well emerge the victor. However, the tourism commission's embarrassingly true colors could disgust them, to the point that they may decide we're not worth compromising their sense of professionalism and dignity. Consider, please, that this wouldn't even be an issue right now if policies and procedures were ethically followed throughout the years.
Conversely, it's equally possible that some other firm could be selected. What difference does it make to the tourism commission, who is supposed to be seeking the taxpayers' best interests, which agency prevails, as long as it meets our needs?
How can being "inundated" with proposals not be a good thing?
Why are we only considering Maryland agencies, rather than all qualified, with verified references and credentials? It's not like we haven't considered nationwide contracts before.
The City Council will need to compare the proposed specs with those from last time, as well as other criteria, before giving the final approval on them.
The "Rodney" campaign is a tourism commission smokescreen. Could you imagine Walt Disney Productions having such a ludicrous conversation about Mickey Mouse? Or Geico executives likewise absurdly discussing their "Caveman" campaign? Either remove the Rodney factor from the RFP specs altogether or simply ask the bidding agencies themselves how they view the spontaneity factor of the campaign's results.
Since the council's May 26 RFP instructions were issued, the tourism commission has repeatedly proven by their words, actions, sensationalism and other manipulative tactics, that it is too emotionally biased to effectively advise on this matter.
The most recent publicized example of this was "deciding" to spend $25,000 on a progressively-struggling fishing show (Hooked on O.C.) and $5,000 on the White Marlin Open, which the council had already had to oppose out of necessity. With what authority? They're an advisory board, not a legislative one. Which year's budget are these coming out of? How many more of them are there? What's to prevent them from manipulating the FY10 advertising budget in order to discourage other agencies from bidding with us, or even hamper their competitive postures?
For all of these reasons and questions, the following oversight measures are crucial (that) either:
A. All steps be presented before the mayor and council for step-by-step approvals, or
B. an ad-hoc task force of impartial persons be unanimously appointed by the council (just like it was recently for the audit of the town's finances, and before that, for the combining of the fire department).
Let's All Be Careful
Today I called you about the cat named Sandy. You all are an answer to my prayers for running this ad.
My burden was getting heavy taking care of the belongings of Kristin Bruno and Christine Bruno. I'm glad that along with people in my church who pray and people who help people, I'd like to express my gratitude to you, the editor and publisher and workers of the free press, the distributors and the local businesses who make the community what it is. I'd like to thank Gwen and all the caring persons that contributed to the fund for Kristin Bruno and Christine Bruno.
The hardest part is taking care of those left behind and picking up the belongings and putting away her notebook and schoolbooks. What do you do with those blank pages? I cannot put them in a garbage can. Looking at her closet and picture it's as if she's there ready to go out to a movie, call a friend or go for a bike ride. Maybe get ready for a prom? I'm lucky my daughters are now 21 and 23.
Life goes on and people move on with their lives. Some never quite get over the death of a loved one, especially the tragedy of a double death.
Isn't it time Worcester County slow down, take time and observe the speed limit? Do not let anyone else die this summer. It might be your daughter next. Whoever reads this, please be aware and don't forget.