Transportation Dept. Top Heavy with Supervisors
The Ocean City Council has decided to cut bus service to Coastal Highway during the off-season from three day, three evening and three night shift buses to two day, two evening and two night shift buses.
This, in turn, will increase the day and evening service to a 45-minute wait, up from a half and hour, with the night shift going to an hour-and-a-half wait, up from half-an-hour. This reduction in staff will consist of a week-day roster of five drivers per day.
I would like to bring to your attention that this close to 40-percent reduction of driver staff and service is to save money, with a pending fare increase. What many citizens, including yourself, and the Council may not realize is that the administrative staff has not been cut at all. The administrative staff presently consists of the following: superintendent, salary approximately $109,000; assistant superintendent, salary approximately $65,000; transportation manager, salary approximately $62,000; ADA supervisor, salary approximately $40,000; secretary to the superintendent, salary approximately mid-$30s; vehicle technician, salary approximately mid- to high $20s.
This puts the ratio of supervisor to worker at almost one-to-one. All of these jobs are year-round benefited, of which two, the transportation manager and the ADA supervisor, were seasonal up until four years ago. This leads to one question: If the $65,000 saved by cutting service to the riders by reducing buses was the most effective way to reduce costs?
If the two aforementioned positions were put back to seasonal positions (what duties do they actually perform in the off-season), there would be a savings of $65,000 or more, but still keeping with the mission of the transportation department of providing safe and efficient service as well as providing real service to those that depend on it.
This has been a hot topic of discussion for the last two years. As you may recall two years ago, there as a public hearing during which reducing service was voted down due to public opinion. If the town was sincere with it’s efforts to maintain services to the public, the cuts would have been for those who shuffle the paper and not those who move the passengers.
Congress Needs to Go
The United States Congress is knowingly, willingly bankrupting this country.
If ever there was a time in America’s History to abolish Congress, it is now. Our Representatives and Senators have for a long time been dysfunctional, delusional and elitist. They are the single largest contributor to the looming, imminent loss of security within our borders.
Because of Congress, we owe more than $13 trillion dollars to foreign countries. Congress’ answer to that problem is simple: Borrow some extra money and call it economically stimulating.
Already, the only countries that will cash the checks Congress is writing on the backs of your great-grand-children are China, Japan, Britain, a few Caribbean bank nations, and Middle Eastern Oil Exporters. Seventy-percent of our National Debt is owed to China. That same China just recently announced its intention to be the one and only super-power nation in our brave new world.
Even those whose job it is to protect America see the writing on the paper the treasury is printing. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has clearly stated that the biggest threat to U.S. national security is the nation’s debt. The yearly interest on the money our country owes is equal to our defense budget.
There’s something very scary and mightily wrong when the money we have on hand to protect ourselves from nations who might want to harm us is the same amount of money we owe to some of those same countries.
As Admiral Mike Mullen has tried to make our government understand, the scenario “is not sustainable.”
And who has put us in this perilous position? Congress and the House of Representatives.
Together, they are a bloated, ineffective cluster. Long ago, they gave up the idea of coming down those Capitol steps to see what was going on in the real world. Worse, in the last decade, they don’t even put on the pretense of caring about those of us who pay their salaries, their perks, their hidden treasures.
We need to fire Congress and we need to do it now. It’s not just about the colossal sums of cash they’re throwing away or “earmarked” Stimulus money they cleverly detour for their pet projects and their favorite campaign contributors.
It’s not even about the millions of dollars we shell out every day to have our representatives stand around in Washington “thinking for us.”
What it may soon be about is our national language. Even then, the focus will not be about our primary language as English or our secondary-speak as Spanish. It is conceivable, perhaps inevitable on the path we now follow, that every one of us will need to learn Chinese. FIRE CONGRESS!
Get every irrational, clueless incumbent out of Washington NOW. Shout it out above the tallest monument: CONGRESS, YOU’RE FIRED.
Bay Restoration Depends on Poultry
The Chesapeake Bay is one of America’s greatest natural resources. It is the largest estuary in the United States. Unfortunately, chicken mega-farms threaten this fragile ecosystem. The run-off from these farms devastates the natural chemistry of the water. Nitrogen and phosphorus replace oxygen, choking off ecologically significant native species. Maryland has made significant progress in reducing this waste in past years, however a great deal remains to be done. As development continues, we need to focus on containing the nitrogen waste that comes with it. Governor O’Malley’s Chesapeake Bay Restoration Plan proposes some good ideas, but leaves the industry to supervise itself. We need to make sure that these programs are mandated so that we do not have the fox policing the hen house.
ALOC House Tour a Huge Success
The Art League of Ocean City’s 2010 Sand Castle Home Tour Committee would like to thank the many people who helped make this year’s tour, which was held Sept 23 & 24, the most successful yet. When this event was started six years ago, we never dreamt how popular it would become, and how many people would come from all over to attend the tour.
This year the self-guided tour was a sell out with 1,000 people attending. The proceeds of the home tour will go towards building a much-needed visual art center for the citizens of, and visitors to Ocean City. Hundreds of people have come together to help the Art League in its quest for a larger home, which is testament to the desire to bring more art and culture to our town, and how much we can accomplish as a community.
We are particularly grateful to the ten homeowners: The Rinnier, Dimick, Meeks, Cook-Hennessey, Hamilton, Berger, Sappington, Wiles, Tomasello and Spurrier families, who opened their doors to the community; without them this event would not be possible. We thank our honorary Chairman Mayor Rick Meehan, for his support of the Art League. Thank you to all of the sponsors and tour book advertisers, particularly Mr. William Esham Sr., and our Diamond, Emerald, and Gold sponsors: Eunice Sorin, Rox Weddings and Events, Primo Hoagies, Atlantic Planning & Development, Bank of Delmarva, Rina & Jeff Thaler, Castle in the Sand Hotel, Candy Kitchen Shoppes, Delegate Jim & Mrs. Kathy Mathias, La Hacienda, Senor Cigars, Dr. William Allen, Planet Maze, Delmarva Power, Dr. Fred & Mrs. Margaret Spurlock, Faith Lord & Mr. & Mrs. Chris Kahl. Thank you to Fresco’s Restaurant for hosting the homeowner cocktail party. Our gratitude to the florists who donated the beautiful floral displays: Ocean Greenery, Ocean City Florist, Flowers by Alison, Phil Cropper, Kitty’s Flowers, City Florists, Beyond Flowers, Bethany Florist and the Worcester County Garden Club. Thank you to Sun Trust Mortgage for donating the tote bags, and to Atlantic General Hospital for providing the booties to protect the floors. Thanks also goes to the artists who painted watercolor portraits of the homes: Jody Veader, Stasia Heubeck, Paige Ruby, Rina Thaler, Jeri Lipov, Ethnie Graziano, Fay Kempton, and Anne Rinck. Thank you to The Dispatch, Ocean City Today, Metropolitan Magazine, and Maryland Life Magazine for their help to get the word out. Our tour raffle was a big success, and we are thankful to Robin Walter Day Spa, River Run Golf Club, and the many restaurants who donated certificates. Thanks to Copy Central for the excellent signage and printing the tour book. Finally, a big thank you to the home coordinators and the over 250 volunteers, all members of our community, who staffed the homes. It is a blessing to be able to count on the support and help of so many wonderful people. See you all next year!
The Sand Castle Home Tour Committee:
Rina Thaler, Katy Durham, Barbara Melone, Betty Stork, Jennifer Albright, Lyn Burr, Jacquie Warden, Macy Thiele, Kim Wagner, Rebecca Galyon, Jamie Albright,Nancy Howard, Marian Bickerstaff, Jody Veader, Linda Kessinger
Sprinkler Mandate Flawed
The state sprinkler system requirement violates private property rights, as do most requirements in the International Building Code, which is used by most states.
This code violates a person’s right to spend their money and build a house as they choose. A man or woman’s home is no longer their castle, but the government’s property. This code requires a minimum square footage of glass per room, which is regulating light. It dictates detailed stair and railing requirements, egress windows, smoke detectors, reinforced footings and various steel fasteners, among hundreds of other requirements. This code is not applied the same to every homebuilder as it doesn’t apply to house trailers, which have a less stringent code.
Firemen can recommend sprinklers, but that doesn’t mean their recommendations should become law. They could recommend that all houses be of masonry and steel, with no wood or carpet, but most people wouldn’t want to live in such houses and shouldn’t be forced to build them. Smoking causes fires, but it’s still legal to smoke in your own home. Most people are aware of the dangers and fewer people smoke today than in the past. Firemen can educate the public about fire protection, but they shouldn’t push for laws requiring expensive sprinkler systems.
Codes don’t make better houses. Money spent conforming to codes could be spent on geothermal heating, lightening rods, solar panels, etc. Codes interfere with historic designs. They discourage individuals from building their own homes and make it difficult for small contractors, including artisan and timberframe builders. They benefit nationwide building companies, known for their look-alike, shoddy homes.
Monticello and Mount Vernon would not pass the code and I believe Thomas Jefferson and George Washington would strenuously oppose this code, as should all of us. A friend said instead of sprinkler systems, we need to sprinkle common sense.
Beverly Rae Lynch
Fiddler’s Convention a Big Hit
While the ever popular Berlin Fiddlers Convention for 2010 has faded to a memory and downtown is busy preparing for the upcoming Victorian Christmas Celebration, I would like to take a moment to publicly thank the Berlin Chamber of Commerce for once again organizing a hugely successful event for the benefit of the entire Berlin community.
It would not have been possible without the hard work of committee chair and Chamber president Anita Todd and committee members Joel Todd and Chip Foster. While there were many more volunteers involved in this event, including the Town’s Public Works Department under the leadership of Mike Gibbons. Anita, Joel and Chip went above and beyond the role of unpaid volunteer to make the event such a success. This was Anita’s second year chairing the event and the third year in a row that Joel has played such a major part in the planning and execution of all the aspects of this major Berlin event. Again! Many thanks to all involved.
Main Street Berlin Coordinator