Forced To Relocate Over Hiring Practices
The last time you published one of my letters, I was on the brink of homelessness thanks to the rampant hiring of illegal labor in Ocean City. Of course, the city has no interest in enforcement of our immigration laws and refused to permit me to circulate a petition to mandate legal hiring practices in our town. Whether or not you publish this, I wanted to update my situation and shed some light on the bigger picture.
As predicted, I could no longer afford to live in OC and had to pack my bags. Luckily, my sister in Arizona has a couch I sleep on now. For 25 years I lived in OC, a law abiding hard working patriot and native of Maryland. Thanks again for nothing to local government and the contractors that prefer to break federal immigration laws. It’s beyond my comprehension how any elected official could blatantly ignore the people they’re supposed to be representing.
Ocean City’s future will look much like present day Arizona if something isn’t done. Illegal aliens start businesses of their own and underbid the same contractors that aided and abetted their illegality. These illegally run companies use our own laws to hire more illegal aliens by calling them “minorities” so even more Americans are out of work. Wages continue to drop as American companies go out of business and illegal ones thrive. It’s been happening here for years and until recently, nothing has been done. For two months in Arizona, I’ve been looking for work to no avail. Illegal aliens are thriving and many jobs require bilingual abilities. Even major chain companies have illegal aliens in management and they only hire other illegals. They bypass the new E-Verify law with stolen identities.
I’ve tried to explain this to some of the Ocean City contractors that knowingly hire illegal aliens but they refuse to believe any of it. If they continue these practices and ignore the inevitable, it will serve them right to be put out of business by the same people they hired illegally. Poetic justice, karma, whatever you want to call it. I just hope and pray that the situation will be addressed before it gets as bad as it is here in Arizona. Hopefully, I’ll be coming home in the spring if the job situation improves. Ocean City is my home no matter where the couch is I’m sleeping on.
Let’s Get Performing Arts Center Right
I am very glad to see that the local newspapers are giving some coverage about the new arts venue at the Ocean City Convention Center. It is also great that we have people in the business community that have an interest in the arts and want to support a plan to promote a performing arts center. I applaud you all for your contributions and attempting to fill a large void for people like myself with an interest and background in the performing arts. When I retired here to the Delmarva, I did not realize that I had to give up my love for the performances of today and settle for the performances of those on the way out. All of us on the Delmarva should not have to travel 3 hours to see a production of substance, creativity, and freshness.
The business leaders of the community should be very concerned whether they are getting just another auditorium or a complete performing arts center that will attract traveling productions that are meaningful and profitable. It is not worth spending the money unless you get the venue that is expected. Changes to the Convention Center will not be profitable if it is not built and outfitted properly. Survey successful performing arts centers throughout Maryland, DC, and Pennsylvania. Find out what changes they had to make after the original changes to the venues were made. Ask the tough questions about the auditorium/ballroom that the Convention Center has now and whether or not the following questions have been answered yet: acoustics, type and kind of seating, sound amplification, house lighting, stage lighting, easy access for unloading trailers, quiet HVAC units, storage, staging, dressing rooms, wing space and fly system. Special engineers in their field must be consulted to answer the above questions.
This venue is not needed only for Ocean City, but for the entire Delmarva. Work with the groups in Rehoboth Beach and Dewey to bring performances to the Delmarva. With this cooperation, all will benefit. Turn Ocean City into an arts area for the visitors during the off-season and develop show packages for those who are interested. Do not give up on this idea, but make sure it is done right the first time. We may not have a chance to do it again if they build just another auditorium.
Self-Defense Bill Deserves Attention
I love Democracy. A government of the people, by the people and for the people. However, that isn’t the case here in Maryland. In Maryland, the people’s voice means nothing to those in power. You see, in Maryland, if the chairman of a committee doesn’t like a bill that comes across his desk, they just simply ignore it long enough that it dies at the end of the session.
Just how many people in Maryland know about Senate Bill SB420 – the self-defense bill? Did you know that you can be sued for protecting yourself or your loved ones from criminals? Did you know you could lose your home if a criminal gets hurt on your property while committing a crime? SB420 puts a stop to these civil lawsuits from being brought by criminals and their families against their victims.
For four years, the House has passed this bill unanimously and every year, Senator Frosh sits on it, even with strong push and backing from the Citizens of Maryland. Why does he continue to stop this important civil rights bill from getting a fair vote?
He says that citizens of Maryland are already protected if and when they use self-defense to thwart a crime in their home. At the same time he says that people have the right to sue anyone they want, but there are no reports of a citizen being found guilty for protecting themselves. If the statement is true, then why not allow the bill to be voted on. The bill would only strengthen what is suppose to already be an unspoken fact, let’s have it in writing.
Why not make it easier for those who are victimized to try and put their lives back together without this cloud of fear that the thug or their family might try to come at them with a civil suet for doing what is morally right, protecting one’s self and/or their family. No, he would rather that those people put more and more money out in legal fees to fight a battle that should never have been allowed to start.
Without this law on the books, some people are afraid to stand up to these criminals out of fear of loosing everything they have. Not only is he saying it’s OK to be victimized by bad people, but it’s OK to be a victim to our own justice system.
Why is he so against the will of the people of Maryland? Whose side is he on, the criminals or victims?
Same Old Treatment For Area Bus Drivers
Well, here we are again. Back in 1991, the county came up short of money to operate the various county agencies. Back then, they cut budgets with the promise that if they found additional funding before the end of the fiscal year, they would repay everyone who was furloughed without pay. When the Board of Education was funded the money, they paid everyone but one group, the school bus contractors.
Fast forward to 2009.
The bus contractors, knowing that the funding may be tight, proposed a transportation budget that wouldn’t require an increase in funding. That was in December 2008.
Since that time, we have learned that there would be a decrease of 3 percent in funding.
The transportation budget is approximately $5.3 million. Of this, the bus contractors receive about $4.5 million. Three percent of the total transportation budget equals approximately $160,000. Three percent of the bus contractors’ part equals almost $138,000.
The Board of Education has already announced that $160,000 will be cut from the pupil transportation budget in the form of field trip cuts. This coincidentally equals exactly 3 percent of the total transportation budget. Also, out of the transportation budget is $7,500 in bus safety, primarily used for camera installation and repairs.
There is another issue to consider. The bus contractors, through an agreement with the Board of Education, are currently reimbursing 12 cents per mile back to the Board because of falling fuel prices. The contractors are not reaping any savings from the low fuel prices. The Board received this money in the current budget and is receiving it again from the contractors. If this continues next year, this would amount to some $180,000 extra. That’s 3 ¼ percent to the transportation budget for next year. Add that to an expected $120,000 from the current year fuel savings. That’s another 2 ½ percent.
We, the bus contractors, have been informed that we need to cut an additional nearly $1,500 each from our pay, while driving the same amount of time and miles.
Some contractors are due to buy new buses for the 2010 year. The Board has informed us that they will not pay any more to these contractors in spite of the fact that there is an increase of 8 percent in the cost of these new buses. These contractors are required by law to buy new buses.
The amount needed could be paid for by using only two months of the aforementioned fuel reimbursement in the current year.
The school bus drivers don’t expect special treatment. We understand that times are tight and everyone is expected to do their part. What we do expect is to be treated fairly in hard times as well as good times.
Whatever happens, we will continue to do our jobs as professionally as we have always done in good times and bad.
(The writer is the president of the Worcester County Bus Contractors Association.)
Parade Help Appreciated
The Maryland Coastal Bays Program would like to thank the following people for their invaluable help with our first-ever float entry in the Delmarva Irish-American Club St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ocean City on March 14:
Mike Brian, Phyllis Brian, Vera McCullough, Morgan Kaumeyer, Denny Sharp and Jamie Montgomery y of High Tide Marine, Ryan Murphy and Shane Murphy of Go Green Painting & Home Improvements, Victor Bunting, Brian Tinkler, Su Lane Sun Signs, Christopher Johnson, Krystal Wilson, Ben Cheseldine, Morgan Squicciarini, Carolyn Cummins, Karen Lukacs, Genie Blake, Maria Valdez, Malakhi Lucas, Heather, Harley, Asher, and Lucas Layton, Keota Silaphone and Ella Samis.
We are thrilled to have won the award for Best Overall Float, and we truly couldn’t have done it without the help of our volunteers. Thank you so much.
Maryland Coastal Bays Program Staff members Anita Ferguson, David Wilson, Kate Diffenderfer, Carol Cain, Carrie Samis, Cristy Layton and Roman Jesien