Voices From The Readers
Biking Changes Needed
I was deeply saddened to learn of the bicycle accident that occurred on the Route 50 Bridge recently.
As a West Ocean City resident, I enjoy biking on the Boardwalk in the morning, but this is no easy feat. As I travel eastbound on Route 50 in what is clearly marked as a bike lane, I find parked cars (fishermen on the bridge) blocking the lane. This forces me to weave around them into the regular lane of traffic. Once on the bridge, I proceed along the walking path, as recommended by the town, rather than trying to ride across the bridge. This becomes difficult as I have to dodge the garbage cans, fishermen, whose gear is blocking the walkway as well, and pedestrians. It becomes especially difficult if there is a biker traveling the opposite direction as it is near impossible to pass each other, having to turn the handle bars sideways in order to pass.
Once across the bridge, there is a steep decline that makes a sharp turn. This makes it near impossible to ride down, so once again, I walk the bike down to the street. At the street, I must cross Philadelphia Avenue, which is extremely dangerous as many cars making the right-hand turn are not watching for pedestrians. Returning is no easy task either as the westbound side of the bridge has steps (not ramps) so that returning must be on the eastbound side as well, once again encountering other bikers coming the opposite direction, fishermen, pedestrians etc.
If the town truly wants bikers to use the walkway, they need to address these difficulties. I agree that it is dangerous to ride bikes in the car lanes but changes must be made to make it easier and safer to use the walkways.
West Ocean City
Hate Speech Response
Wow, talk about hate speech. Last week's issue of The Dispatch treated us to yet another nasty letter by J.A. Hoage of Severna Park lambasting and ridiculing everybody that doesn't agree with his angry view of America. His attitude is typical of the far left haters who have temporarily wrested control of the Democratic party.
I'm just surprised Joe the Plumber, Sarah Palin or John Wayne were not included in his condemnation and ridicule of traditional American values (but he did find time to demonize Archie Bunker). It was more of the same old left wing radical tact: character assassination with the goal of making you and me feel guilty about our core beliefs and our love of America.
I hope that you read that letter, because if you did - whether you are Republican, Democrat, Independent or other -- I'm sure that you thought, 'my God, what is happening to America, when did the viewpoints of haters like Mr. Hoage, Jerimiah Wright and Bill Ayers become main stream'? Answer: Nov. 4, 2008, the day America declared war on itself.
This partisan hate is destructive and frightening. Voting for a Republican or voting for a Democrat rather than voting for the best qualified candidate is what got us in the current mess. And this mess won't stay current - the politicians are spending America out of existence, and we may never be able to recover.
I'm just glad John Wayne and Archie Bunker aren't around to witness the demise of the country that they loved.
Reaches New Level
I appreciate this public forum to discuss a dangerous situation we have in our resort town - the increasingly reckless operations of jet-skis.
I have had boats since I was a teenager and owned jet-skis in the past. The level of dangerous operation, disregard for other boaters, disregard for safety and regulations has reached, in my opinion, a dangerous and potentially deadly level. With no required training or supervision, anyone can operate machines with motors as large as the largest street-legal motorcycle.
In the past, I personally have had jet-skis pass within inches of my boat, have had jet-skis so close to my boat they have cut fishing lines, have hit jet-skis with lead sinkers while casting, and have witnessed jet-skis unable to stop, hitting boats, docks and other jet-skis. Twice, I've had jet-skis, out of control, hit my boat.
In my opinion, the biggest offenders are the rental groups being led on excursion throughout the bays. On any given day, tours can be seen violating the six mph zones, absolutely no regard for the rules prohibiting traveling within 500 feet of Assateague Island, and zero regard for other boater in the area. The tour guides scream ahead of the group, throttle wide-open, weaving in and out of boat traffic. Today, sadly, I was an eyewitness to a horrific accident, when a young lady following a guide, got too close to a navigation marker and struck the channel marker head-on. These markers are essentially telephone poles supported by heavy timbers. Needless to say, the pole didn't give in the collision.
The USCG-Station Ocean City, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the National Park Service officer's all patrol the inland waterways and maintain a high presence and visibility. I appreciate that these agencies are doing a stellar job in protecting our waters and enforcing regulations. What can be done to assist these agencies to better control the violators? The jet-ski rental agencies must share some responsibility in controlling this issue. What are the requirements for tour guide operators? Is any consideration given to weather conditions, physical ability of the potential renters, degree of boat traffic at times during the day?
Not all tour operators are reckless; unfortunately, as the saying goes, 'one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.' Many jet-skis with out-of-state registration violate the rules and are just as guilty. As far as rentals, I'm sure insurance waivers are signed by clients; ultimately, some wronged or injured rider is going to find a sympathetic jury and have huge damages awarded. As for myself and my family, I'll be watching them, because they sure aren't watching us.
Bye Bye Palin
Nixon in 1974, Johnson in 1968, Spiro Agnew in 1972, John Edwards in 2008, Sarah Palin in 2009.
Politicians have always proven they are corrupt and/or stupid but never has a set of circumstances confused the American public quite like this latest Sarah Palin fiasco.
Drawing a hastily drawn news conference on July 3, Sarah Palin decides she does not want to be governor of Alaska anymore and resigns, effective in about two weeks, like she has a private sector job. She confuses the issue by talking like a goody-goody politician that refers to herself like a point guard in basketball.
She has basically made a mockery of our government. She disregarded her contract with the Alaskan people and she obviously can not stand the constant ethics complaints and the heat put on her in reference to her performance and her general autocratic, self centered, self serving attitude, that does not let her continue as governor of the biggest state in the union. She just said hell yeah. We want to quit.
It is about money. Every self-serving politician loves money and power and lust for both in large degrees and this lady is no exception. Of sure she will get her book deal and a reality show in the future if she wants it but she would never ever make a good President or perform in any higher office other than governor. Sarah just go away. Do your party and the American people a favor. You are now unelectable. Your a quitter. If you cannot stand the heat get out of the kitchen.
Sarah Palin as president, give me a break. I am a Democrat and was thrilled when Sarah Palin became vice president because it insured our victory. But I love a good fight.
John McCain showed his decision-making deficiency when he named her vice president and insured he would never be president. Tina Fey made a mockery out of her on Saturday Night Live and Sarah Palin went on the show herself to prove that she was incapable of any class or dignity. You never lower your standards unless your standards were low already. Her appearance on Saturday Night Live did nothing for her credibility. Good luck to Sarah. No hard feelings. It is just not worth it. Let face it, she is attractive and has the killer instinct to be successful in the private sector but lacks intelligence, diplomacy, decision making ability, geography skills and good common sense in her dealings with her people especially those who voted her in office.
Regarding the 'Desperate Conservatives' letter to the editor in your July 10, 2009 issue, I am again compelled to respond to the author, one 'J.A. Hoage' of Severna Park who occasionally emerges from his extreme left wing hovel to write nonsense.
This time, Hoage lowers himself further by making an ad hominem attack on our previous governor by calling him 'bumbling Bob'. Hoage regurgitates every radical talking point he can muster starting with the required 'FDR saved the country' song. Hoage should know that, rather than rescuing the country, FDR's 'New Deal' policies did nothing of the sort. In 1931, at the end of the hated Hoover administration, unemployment was 17.4%. Seven years later, after more than doubling federal spending, the national unemployment rate stood at - 17.4%. At no point in the 1930's did unemployment dip below 14%. World War II lowered the unemployment rate, not FDR. However, FDR must be given credit for planting the seeds of a welfare state that is now reaching full socialist blossom under Hoage's latest liberal hero, President Obama. I wonder if Hoage also agrees with our First Lady that, '...for the first time in my life I am proud of my country.'
Rather than refuting every piece of Hoage's drivel, let it be known that former Governor Ehrlich left office as a highly respected politician, winning 18 of 23 Maryland counties (including Hoage's Anne Arundel) in his unsuccessful re-election bid. Implying that Mr. Ehrlich was against latino immigration is an outright defamation. Mr. Ehrlich, like the overwhelming majority of all Americans (including Latino-Americans), was against illegal immigration. That small detail does not interest Hoage who revels in the election of his presidential candidate, and who further revels in the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation of a 'latino woman', the often and recently overturned Sonia Sotomayor (who, incidentally was born in the Bronx). Hoage might well pay heed to the latest Rasmussen poll numbers showing our president's approval rating in free fall because of economic policies Hoage applauds. Quoting his own letter to the editor in the February 2005 Bay Weekly, Hoage's uncontrolled animosity for anything conservative 'coarsens our culture'.
A Patriotic Observation
This past 4th of July, I was out with friends, celebrating Independence Day at a local restaurant in Ocean City. At this waterfront restaurant, I noticed that a small American flag had fallen into the water. At the same time I noticed the flag, a young man, who was dining with friends also saw the flag drifting in the water. Instantly, he jumped up from his seat, trudged into the water and retrieved the floating flag. The water was approximately two feet deep, however, the man seemed unconcerned that his pant legs got soaked when he went into the water to get the abandoned flag.
I immediately began applauding this gesture and was joined by several other people who witnessed the actions of this young man. A friend of this man announced that the man, who had just 'rescued' the American flag from the water was a United States Marine.
I went to the bar and ordered two drinks, not coincidently (called a B-52 bomber), one for this Marine and one for myself. I approached the Marine and told him I was proud of what he did and asked him if he would share a drink with me. He accepted and he and I had a drink in honor of this United States Marine and his act of pulling an American flag out of the water. He kindly thanked me for the drink and I thanked him for his service to the United States of America. I wanted to share this experience with my friends and family. I will never forget this 4th of July.
Opposed To Usage Fee
(The following letter was written to the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors with a copy forwarded to this publication.)
I am the Commodore of the Ocean Pines Boat Club, an Ocean Pines community organization with approximately 500 paid members. We have been anxiously awaiting the completion of the new Community Hall so that we could begin having our monthly board meetings there. We are currently using two small meeting rooms in the Ocean Pines' Library that are barely sufficient to meet our needs. We also have held one large social event in the community hall each year and were looking forward to holding a second one in the future. All of these plans may now change and other options will be considered.
We find it unacceptable that a homeowners' association would charge organizations, whose membership lies wholly within the community, a fee for the use of a community meeting facility which has been built with funds collected from the members of the community. There are two nearby communities with community halls, The Parke and Glen Riddle, and neither charges community groups for the use of their community hall. We would further have to seriously consider our contributions within the community and our support of other Ocean Pines' facilities. We make a point of using the Yacht Club for our catered events but, if these decisions are to be made on a pecuniary basis, as your potential fees suggest, then our decisions for catering will also be so based.
The people who actively belong to the organizations in Ocean Pines are the ones who provide services and funds to this community of untold value. They are the ones who use other amenities, eat at the Yacht Club, and toil many hours on behalf of Ocean Pines doing tasks that otherwise would require paid employees.
Surely, the old community hall was a more expensive building to operate, with its antiquated facilities and systems, than the new one will be. We expect certain services without charge for our taxes and homeowners' association fees - police and fire protection, schools, libraries, snow removal, and in Ocean Pines, use of facilities for meetings and social events. The entire community approved the new community hall's creation and the entire community should pay for its construction and operation. A charge for the use of the community hall would also be a breach of faith with the community. Many would not have voted for a new hall if they thought they were going to pay for it twice.
Group Fee A Bad Idea
(The following letter was addressed to Ocean Pines Association General Manager Tom Olson and members of the Board of Directors)
I am contacting you in regard to the discussion among many Ocean Pines organizations concerning the possibility of the Ocean Pines Board imposing a fee structure on these groups for use of the new CommunityHall.
I am very concerned about the prospect of any Ocean Pines organization being charged for use of any building that is an amenity to the entire Ocean Pines Community. In the case of the Kiwanis Club of Ocean Pines to which I belong, fees for our weekly meetings and fundraising events will diminish the funds which we have available for supporting programs and making contributions to the Ocean Pines Recreation Program as well as to the greater community - schools, G.O.L.D. Priority One program for mothers and babies, scholarships, and other community projects. The county libraries do not charge a use fee for their meeting rooms.
Why should our own Association penalize us in this way? The new Community Hall will need to be heated and cooled for the staff working there. It will need to be cleaned after any event, as well. And are you also considering a fee structure for the Country Club and Yacht Club? Will the Ocean Pines Board have to pay to use a meeting space? If not, why not?
By the way, please pass my emai; along to Marty Clarke and Ray Unger who apparently can't be reached by email. Thank you. I sincerely hope that you and the Board members will fully consider the implications such a ruling will bring.Pat Winkelmayer