OCEAN CITY — With a few
weeks to go before the Sept. 21 filing deadline for the Ocean City Mayor and
Council election, some new names have entered the race and set their sights on
the three incumbents, one only of which has officially filed for re-election.
Since the 2008 election,
which saw Council members Mary Knight and Jim Hall re-elected, Councilman Joe
Hall elected back onto the council after a two year absence and Doug Cymek win
a seat on his third try, the town has been in the midst of a huge multi million
dollar “rightsizing” campaign to cut costs and hold the line on the tax rate,
while keeping the town’s infrastructure ahead of the proverbial 8-ball.
Mayor Rick Meehan is up
for re-election, and there have been speculations that a candidate could come
forward to run against him this year, although none have filed as of yet
according to City Clerk Kathy Mathias.
Meehan ran unopposed in
the 2008 election, and although he hasn’t officially filed as of press time, he
said that he has every intention of filing before the deadline and leading the
town for years to come.
“It’s the summertime,
and everyone has been working hard, myself included,” said Meehan. “I will file
sometime soon and I will campaign as I always do, whether I’m running unopposed
or against someone.”
Mathias said that only
Councilwoman Margaret Pillas has filed so far of the three council members who
are up for re-election. Neither Council President Joe Mitrecic nor Council
Secretary Lloyd Martin have filed their official application at City Hall, but
both have said publicly that they will be running this year.
Of the non-incumbents
who have filed, both Brent Ashley and Sean Rox had their names on the ballot in
2008, with Rox surprising some people with his voter turnout despite earning
the least amount of votes (355) in his first campaign, while Ashley came just
52 votes shy of beating Councilman Joe Hall for Jay Hancock’s seat on the
Although there is still
time to file, here is a look at how the race would look if it were to begin
Joe Mitrecic: The current council president passed on an apparent push to get him to
run for a County Commissioners’ seat and says that although he hasn’t filed
yet, he is dedicated to the job at hand here in Ocean City.
“There’s not a month
that goes by that I’m not working on or thinking about how to make this town
better, but, we don’t need to be thinking about elections right now, the people
of Ocean City need to be concentrating on the summer right now, so I will file
in September,” said Mitrecic.
Mitrecic believes that
the current council has done very well to navigate the town through the
extremely harsh economic conditions, despite the apparent council divide on
many major issues in the town.
“I’m very happy with the
current council,” said Mitrecic. “We have a lot of spirited conversations that
I think make this town better. I have no problem with a 4-3, or a 5-2 vote on
big issues because it’s important for the ultimate decision to have that many
Margaret Pillas: She announced several months ago that she had
changed her mind and would run again for the City Council.
Pillas had publicly said
during her last campaign that she would be retiring in 2010, but she said that
due to the economic downturn, her retirement would be pushed back.
Pillas said she still
hopes to cut costs further and hopes to lower the tax rate next year, rather
than just hold the line.
Lloyd Martin: He was unavailable for comment this week, but the current council
secretary and chairman of the Police Commission has told The Dispatch that he has
“every intention of filing” before the deadline. Martin has been on the council
since 2002, and has served as the secretary since 2006.
Brent Ashley: After coming just short at the voting booth in 2008, retired business
owner Brent Ashley says he plans to bring a sense of “fiscal conservatism” to
the City Hall.
“When I campaigned the
last time, I promised people that I would try again to get on the council, but
this will be my last shot if I don’t get voted in this year,” said Ashley. “I
think the Mayor and Council have done an okay job at rightsizing the government
and holding the line on the tax rate, but the problem is the same council and
the town officials had supersized the town’s budget in the first place and
that’s unacceptable. It’s like someone setting your house on fire and then
having to thank them for putting it out.”
Ashley says that he
wants to set a precedent for how elected officials should serve the public by
claiming this week that if elected, he would turn down all health benefits that
would be offered to him as a councilman, and he would also donate 10 percent of
his salary back to the town’s general fund.
“The overspending that
got this town in a bind happened on their watch, and we need to keep moving
this town forward, but in a conservative way,” said Ashley. “You gotta look out
for the raining day, cause the rainy day is always coming.”
Warren James Disbrow: At 74, Disbrow is the oldest of the candidates
after filing this week. The former
florist and Pioneer Publishing Company production manager who managed 27
newspapers in Chicago wants to help the worker bees of Ocean City.
“I love this town but
things have gotten out of hand as far as spending goes,” said Disbrow. “I’ve
got no one thing that I plan to campaign on but I want to make sure that we
keep government out of things they should have no part in doing, and keep our
worker bees working.”
Disbrow, who is also the
chaplin for the American Legion, says he knows all the current council members
and hopes that they will support his campaign.
He had a respectable showing in the 2008 election, but came up several hundred
votes short of a spot on the council, but said he has since taken the loss in
stride and used it as a learning tool all-leading up to this fall’s campaign.
“2008 was a wonderful
opportunity to gain experience for the upcoming election,” said Rox. “I learned
from the campaigns of seasoned candidates and respect their commitment, and I
commend the efforts of our Mayor and Council who have retained Ocean City’s
position as an elite family resort.”
Rox, the owner of Rox
Enterprises (which specializing in events and wedding planning), said he has
literally become a student of the local political world, getting a PHD from
Ocean City University, and has been appointed to the Noise Board while becoming
a regular attendee of many of the town’s meetings.
Rox says his main
platforms will be to protect the environment, most notably explore ways to
reduce the traffic in Ocean City, as well as encourage more wind and solar
power throughout the resort, grow the offseason business for the local
community, diversify the Boardwalk retail shops, and restrict smoking on the
Charles Borchini Jr.: He is a newcomer to the campaign trail and has
posted a video on You Tube and launched a Twitter account to gain interest and
introduce his main platforms for his run for City Council.
computers during the day, has lived in Ocean City since 2003 and notes that his
father was an Ocean City Police officer.
He says he is running to
get the town back on the right track, and ironically, has a different type of
track in mind for the resort.
“I just don’t think we
are going down the right road in Ocean City,” said Borchini. “We need to
preserve our unique identity as a tourist destination, and if you look at our
competition, I don’t think we are doing that. In addition, I think we need to
come up with a better way to navigate people on the island and off the island,
and that’s why I think that it’s time for a rail-line system in the town.”