Voices From The Readers
Open Container Issue Needs More Analysis Editor: Due to Ocean City's circumstances, some of the points made, in favor of decriminalization of open container violations, are valid. After reading both your editorial in The Dispatch and the one in the Worcester Times (as well as a short email conversation with the council president), I am starting to believe that there is an important area of this topic that has not received much attention. While there are many opinions on this subject, there is not much analysis on what is the real "nature of the beast" concerning arrests under the present law here in Ocean City.
Due to Ocean City's circumstances, some of the points made, in favor of decriminalization of open container violations, are valid. After reading both your editorial in The Dispatch and the one in the Worcester Times (as well as a short email conversation with the council president), I am starting to believe that there is an important area of this topic that has not received much attention. While there are many opinions on this subject, there is not much analysis on what is the real "nature of the beast" concerning arrests under the present law here in Ocean City.
I am a retired police officer from another Maryland jurisdiction. That jurisdiction has always had an 'open container' law, an arrestable criminal misdemeanor. Normally a violator would be issued a criminal citation unless there were mitigating circumstances. These circumstances can include: not being able to positively identify the violator; the violator refused to identify themselves; refusal to sign the citation; or was wanted on another charge as determined by a 'wanted check'. In those circumstances, a physical arrest would be made. To not make an arrest, in those circumstances, would be misconduct on the officer's part. It seems that the OC law is quite similar to those in other Maryland jurisdictions. So much for the 'tougher then typical law' phase used by the Times.
Your editorial pointed out to me the lack of research into the true nature of 'open container' arrests here in Ocean City. You have called for the removal, by decriminalization, of the power of arrest without a full analysis to get a picture on what exactly is happening in that area at present. You cited the reasons of court time, officer street time, and hinted at, shall we say, overuse of the power of arrest. All good reasons to consider decriminalization, but before any change takes place there should first be a proper evaluation conducted concerning the arrests being made under the law as it now stands.
Among several questions that should be answered, one is: What percentage of the physical arrests being made, presently, had contributing factors as previously mentioned? That's an important question because that percentage will "carry over". Uncooperative types will still need to be dealt with, whether the violation is civil or criminal, and it doesn't matter if they are 'bad' people or 'good' people who will make 'bad' choices due to alcohol beverage consumption.
I'm not against decriminalization; I just want it to be done correctly and without any "loose ends". Been there, have had to deal with that, not pretty.
I apologize for the length of this. I do think a proper analysis of the 'open container' arrests is is needed and is important. You have to fully establish where you are before you can clearly see where to go.
Pavarotti Had Impact
In 1981, our family was living in San Diego, Calif. My wife and our two young sons had just moved down from Whittier and were loving the change.
One evening while our 13-year-old son was in his room listening to the music that 'turned him on' we were watching a PBS special with Luciano Pavarotti. He was singing a selection of arias from Puccini's operas.
Being a dutiful dad, I thought I would like to introduce him to some good music. I went to his room and asked him to join us in listening to 'this guy' sing. He was always an agreeable kid and said that would be great.
We joined his mother in the living room and we all sat and listened to Luciano. Our 13-year-old stayed and listened until the end of the show.
As he got up to return to his room, he said to me and his ,other, 'Boy Dad! That dude sure can sing!'
As Mel Allen would say, 'How about that?'
Ashamed Of County
The Board of County Commissioners' (BOCC) action to deny funding the new parking garage in downtown Ocean City because of proposed tax differential legislation is unconscionable. Ocean City is the economic engine that sustains this county.
The Ocean City business community should rise up and demand the parking garage be funded. I suspect that the BOCC's actions are nothing more than political theater. Their intent in denying the parking garage funding is to strong-arm municipalities into opposing a tax differential for municipal taxpayers by showing that they (the BOCC) can draw-in the purse strings.
The BOCC message was sent loud and clear. But let us not forget there is a higher power than this BOCC - the Maryland General Assembly. It is time for local elected officials to adopt a property tax policy that is fair and equitable to all property taxpayers. Government should not tax their citizens more than government needs to provide services. And government should not require citizens to pay twice for the same service. Every dollar that is discretionary for the county is one less discretionary dollar for citizens to spend in the local economy.
Economic growth depends on a government that is fiscally prudent.
Missing The Benches
I vacationed in Ocean City for many years, but haven't been there for the last four years. This year I moved back into the area and my sister bought a condo in Ocean City.
I can't tell you how disappointed I was to see the old wooden benches with the changeable backs gone. What a loss. While I loved the old wood, I can understand the use of this new material that, I assume, won't need the upkeep the old wood benches probably required.
But to buy benches that have stationary backs I just couldn't believe it. It made all the sense in the world to have those movable backs. They were unique and so charming. I can't believe there is no choice but to look at the buildings when you sit on the benches. Of course, I sometimes want to face the Boardwalk, but not all the time. Of course I can sit on the wall, but there are a lot of people who can't, and I don't want to every time, either. Doesn't anyone appreciate nature anymore? Did they forget what they are - the beach - at the ocean. Why do you go to the beach if not to have contact with the ocean? I know people who don't like the sand, but everyone looks at the ocean. That's just crazy.
Learn The Facts
Since 9/11, six years ago this week, enormous amounts of additional information has been made public. Millions of Americans have now come to the same conclusion: we do not know the truth about what really happened on 9/11.
A Zogby poll found '42% of Americans say the government, and its 9/11 Commission concealed or refused to investigate critical evidence, and there's a cover-up."
Last week Zogby found '51% of Americans want Congress to probe Bush/Cheney regarding 9/11' and '67% want an investigation of the still unexplained collapse of the 47-story WTC-7 Building.'
The evidence ignored by the 9/11 Commission is staggering.
Lou Dobbs said, 'Incompetence and ineptitude on the part of this government on September 11th is established, but the fact that they continue to perpetuate the lie, suggests that we need a full investigation of what is going on and what is demonstrably an incompetent and at worst deceitful federal government.'
9/11 Commission co-chairmen Kean and Hamilton say in their book they 'could not explain why all of the after-action reports, accident investigations and public testimony by FAA and NORAD officials advanced an account of 9/11 that was untrue" and were "exceedingly frustrated by what could be deception.'
Bill Manning, Fire Engineering's editor in chief, called the fire service to action saying 'the official investigation is a half-baked farce that may have been commandeered by political forces', and called the investigation 'a walk-through tourist trip where no one's checking the evidence for anything.'
Author David Griffin writes, 'A good theory takes account of all relevant facts. An outrageous conspiracy theory is inconsistent with all the relevant facts, and that's the Government's 9/11 Conspiracy Theory.'
Millions now reject the 'Government's 9/11 Conspiracy Theory' that 17 Arabs, not one from Iraq, armed with utility knifes, never having flown any jetliner suddenly became expert pilots that flawlessly navigated hundreds of miles totally defeating America's entire air-defense system then performed maneuvers most seasoned pilots can't do to crash dead center into their targets. And all this controlled by 'Boogie Man' Osama crouched inside a dark cave.
Is it reasonable that Capt. Burlingame, a retired military officer with anti-terrorism training, without saying a word to ground control or flipping the transponder to hijack code would 'hand over the plane's keys' to 5-foot nothing 100-pound nothing Hani Hanjour holding a utility knife then let him crash into the Pentagon?
For those who died on 9/11 and our troops dying because of 9/11 it's your patriotic duty as a citizen of this great country to learn the facts and make up your mind what needs to be done. A place to start www.patriotsquestion911.com.