Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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Some folks are saying the Ocean City Council’s vote to support slots at fraternal clubs, such as the Elks Lodge, VFW and American Legion, to name a few, epitomizes hypocrisy. An argument could certainly be made the decision contradicts the resort’s infamous anti-slots stance, which is annually reiterated in Annapolis during public hearings. However, it’s clear the city’s elected officials had little choice but to support the desires of the fraternal clubs. Despite its population swing in the summer months, Ocean City is essentially a small town as far as politics go. There are about 8,000 citizens in Ocean City and typically only half make it to the polls to vote. Of those who care enough to get to the convention center every even year to vote, many are members of the town’s fraternal organizations. For council members to not support their adamant position for having slots in their clubs would have been political suicide for most of them. It was an easy decision from a political standpoint, and the council was wise to seek larger donation percentages of the profits. Furthermore, since the county had already made it known last week it supports the initiative, state legislators are likely to have an easy decision on allowing slots at the clubs.

Transportation bills in the General Assembly are interesting to watch because they impact a large portion of Marylanders. Aside from the annual attempt to ban handheld cell phone use in a vehicle, some other legislation to watch was introduced recently. Bills to keep an eye on include authorizing speed monitoring systems, like cameras, in all counties; prohibiting text messaging while driving; making it illegal to transport a pet in the back of a truck or trailer unless it’s enclosed or the pet is confined in a cage; and requiring drivers vacate the lane closest to emergency or police vehicles while they are stopped, standing or parking on a highway with lights illuminated. These are rational safety measures, for the most part, but I keep looking for an appropriate bill that I think should be introduced one of these years. It would make it illegal for a parent to smoke in a vehicle with children. Driving by a motorist puffing on a cigarette with youngsters in the car is a pet peeve of mine.

One week remains on the Route 50 Bridge project, which closed the span for vehicular and marine traffic in mid-January. Authorities are reporting work is on schedule and the bridge will be re-opened by next Friday. There have been the obvious consequences and inconveniences with the bridge closure, but in some cases it’s brought out the creativity and humor in some local businesses. Buxy’s Salty Dog has been having fun with the project in recent weeks. When the bridge first closed, the marquee read, “Gone Bridge Fishing … Oops.” The joke continued this week with this message: “Groundhog Sees Shadow Bridge Closed 6 More Weeks.”

When the game is closely contested and the commercials are entertaining, the Super Bowl is the best four hours of television of the year in my opinion. On Sunday, the game between the Patriots and Giants was a great battle, but the commercials had to be considered a disappointment in general. Sure, there were a handful of memorable ones including E-Trade’s segments featuring the wide-eyed baby at the computer, but largely many of them were boring. USA Today’s top five by company were: Budweiser, the Dalmatian trains the Clydesdale how to make the beer wagon team; FedEx, the one with the giant carrier pigeons; Bridgestone, critters screaming with squirrel missed by car; Doritos, the one with the giant rat going for the guy’s bag of chips; and Bud Light, the one with the fire breather heating up a romantic dinner.

Staying with the Super Bowl, congratulations to the Greene Turtle North, 707 Sports Bar and Grille and Edible Arrangements. These businesses successfully predicted the Giants would win the big game.

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