Voices From The Readers

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New Director Critical As Expansion Looms

Editor:

Much attention has been paid recently to Ocean City’s “beauty pageant” selection process for a new advertising agency, and rightfully so. Members of the business community and residents alike are eager to find out whether our leadership will choose to extend the town’s association with MGH or to set a new course with a different agency. But this process has drawn the spotlight away from an equally important search: that for a new director of convention center sales.

That plans are in place for eventual expansion and upgrading of the convention center has transformed what would normally be considered a very important hire into one that should be considered critical, in as much as finding the right person for the job is concerned. The planned expansion mandates that the new director have a strong sales background, for the job will require far more than simply maintaining the status quo of re-booking existing events. With an expanded facility, we will be able to host the sizes and types of events and performances that beforehand had been unfeasible due to infrastructural constraints.

Great potential for convention sales growth will accompany the expansion, but such growth will require identifying new customers. We will need a director who has the sufficient savvy to go out and locate these potential customers, as well as one who possesses the sales abilities and talents required to convince these folks that Ocean City should be the venue for their events. We need a deal closer.

Equally important though is the need for the director to recognize that successfully marketing our convention center requires billing the facility as being a component of Ocean City as a destination. Over the past decade or so, convention sales have fallen dramatically at the national level, despite a massive surge in facility expansion and upgrade projects. Two cities that have been able to buck the trend of declining sales, Boston and San Francisco, have done so by promoting their centers as being located in cities that are desirable to visit, and that offer amenities and entertainment options aside from those provided by their convention facilities.

While operating on a much smaller scale, Ocean City is also a destination with much to offer. For those who come here for conventions and events, there is no shortage of accommodations and attractions, both for them and their families. It should be incumbent that the new director both possesses a fundamental understanding of this philosophy and demonstrates a willingness to incorporate this approach into any convention sales strategy. For the director will not simply be selling convention center space—he or she will be selling convention center space by selling Ocean City.

Solid returns on our convention center expansion investment are expected, but much of the outcome will depend on the quality of the person calling the shots. It is hoped that our leadership will identify and select a candidate with a talent for sales combined with an understanding of how to market a destination so that our tourism economy can maximize the benefits of having such a facility.

Joseph L. Kroart III

Ocean City

City Should Enlist

Visitors Help On CO

Editor:

I find it unconscionable that a resort town with thousands of hotels and rental units that play host to millions of visitors every year finds it “too expensive” or “understaffed” in the words of the fire marshal to inspect these facilities for compliance with a two-year old CO detector law.

What’s even more disturbing are the irresponsible comments of town leaders who cite the closing of the Americana Hotel, site of a carbon monoxide leak Aug. 11, as “the biggest piece of information you can get out there for compliance,” according to Councilman Joe Hall. Even Mayor Rick Meehan is quoted as saying “we wanted to make sure that we gave a fine that sent a strong message that we won’t permit non-compliance of our law,” referring to the mere $10,000 fine slapped on the hotel as part of its penalty. The comments are an outrage, considering the fact that out of 29,400 units required to have CO2 detectors, it’s estimated that only 5,000 do.

Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and is tagged as a silent killer that threatens anyone who unknowingly comes into contact, especially while asleep. How can this town leave itself so vulnerable, and, worst, the hundreds of thousands of families who come here unprotected from such a potentially deadly exposure?

Until this town decides to reverse its irresponsible position and vigorously enforce this life-saving law, it should do all it can to enlist the support of the public to help enforce it, by providing a toll-free hotline to report hotels, motels and other facilities that are non-compliant. How long do you think these establishments will stay open if people ask for proof they have working CO detectors and refuse to stay if they don’t? With some eight million tourists passing through town every year with 16 million eyes to look for and report violators, it won’t take long for town officials to clear the air of all the confusion over enforcing this law. It will make us all breathe easier, knowing that a law intended to help save our lives isn’t openly ignored in a way that threatens us with losing them.

Chuck Jackson

Ocean City

Health Care Or Sick Care?

Editor:

"Physician; heal thyself!"

This injunction by Jesus would be an appropriate rallying cry for Americans opposed to a National Health Insurance Law. Half of our country is righteously indignant that the federal government wants to provide health care for the uninsured. Amen.

I must say, though; I am confused. In scripture, Jesus never denied healing to a person based upon their ability to pay. All that mattered to Him was their faith.

But I think this whole debate has been confused from the beginning. It’s not about "health" insurance. It’s about "sickness" insurance. It’s cancer insurance or diabetes insurance. If you have one of these expensive, potentially crippling conditions, and have no insurance protection, there’s only two things you can do.

Pray. And agitate all of your public representatives to support a National Sickness Prevention [also called Health] Plan.

Robert Harmony Carr

Willards

Hoping For A Rational

Discourse On Insurance

Editor: 

The debate over government-controlled health care is indeed a heated one, but over the last few months I’ve been perturbed by the nastiness, anger, and name calling being spewed against those Americans who are alarmed by the current course of events.

Two letters – a month or so apart – from the same person are a perfect example: letter number one accused those who oppose government-controlled health care as using “swift boat tactics” – but hey, that’s so yesterday.  So now in her most recent scolding she updates the demonization of those who don’t see things her way by labeling them – both Republican and Democrat – as "the religious political extremists who continue to protest against the president". And, of course, it’s inevitable that in subsequent letters "those who continue to protest against the president" will be labeled as racists. Stand by, and remember that you heard it here first.

Yes, we oppose socialism, we oppose an administration of powerful czars who are accountable to no one, we oppose unprecedented government control over the economy and over our lives, we oppose the trillions of dollars in debt that our children and grandchildren will be burdened with; but according to those who choose politics over country we do so only because we are swift boating, racist, religious extremists.

As I look back at other nasty letters written by Obama supporters, accusing the opposition of being “extremist” seems to be right off the first page of their playbook. Is this the “civil discourse” that they clamor for when calling us “angry mobs”? Can they make an argument based on facts, or is empty rhetoric and name calling the best that they can do?  

I was at the 9-12 demonstration, and I say to Ms. Kate McQueen, how dare you accuse the amazing Americans who were there – both Democrat and Republican – of being “religious political extremists”. And while it’s admirable that you are “the recipient of two degrees in political science”, please don’t accuse the rest of us – again, both Democrats and Republicans – of “ignorance”. I too am the recipient of two degrees, and many of those who disagree with your politically partisan viewpoint have masters degrees, law degrees and doctorates – so what? 

“Astroturfers", "angry mobs", "extremists", "nazis", "swift boaters", "racists”: that’s not the folks I’ve seen at any tea party or town hall, including at the remarkable event that occurred in Washington D.C. on Sept. 12, 2009.

Janet Rohe

Ocean City

Peaceful March Defies Claims

Editor:

Due to the lack of substantial coverage by media, I would like to give my perspective regarding the Sept. 12 march on Washington, D.C. Myself and a friend department on one of four buses leaving from Salisbury in the early a.m. Most of the bus were strangers, but that did not last for long. We were all there for a common purpose.

Arriving in D.C. and not sure what to expect, we made our way to Freedom Plaza where the march was to start. As we were walking, we could hear the crowd from several or more blocks away chanting USA, USA, USA. When we finally arrived on Pennsylvania Ave., we were absolutely stunned. I cannot find the right words to express the feeling. You could have just stood there and broken down into tears at the sight of all these Americans acting like Americans should. There were grandmas with canes, young children in strollers and everyone in between. Bikers and businessmen, Republicans and Democrats, it really did not matter. Many were carrying signs denouncing reckless government spending and trampling of liberties.

The media continues to inaccurately report this as tens of thousands. I was there and saw for myself hundreds upon hundreds of thousands into the millions with more coming. The Metro and all the roads leading into the city were shut down because they were overwhelmed.

With all of these people crowded in, there was no pushing and no shoving. If someone bumped into you, they said excuse me. Not one single person was rude to me. Everyone picked up after themselves and the streets were clean. All in all a phenomenal day.

Kimberly McAllister

Berlin

Lost Opportunity For OC

Editor

Once again the town council and the Ocean City convention center have dropped the ball on another major event that could have been beneficial to everyone. I am referring to the Molly Hatchet concert that was supposed to be one of the pinnacle events for bike week.

Whatever the circumstances were with the proposed venue where the show was originally to take place, Ocean City or the town council should have jumped at the chance to host that concert at the convention center. I personally have seen Molly Hatchet three times and each time all three shows sold out. With the popularity of this traditional southern rock band and the amount of people in town for bike week, Ocean City should have stepped in to re-promote the show for our convention center

I know that it was all at the last minute, but I believe that by just selling tickets at the door the day of the show it could have sold out or at least packed the floor of the main hall. And now no one wins, the town at the revenue the show would have created and the locals and the many visitors missed out on another major entertainment event. Lets just watch the cobwebs collect in the corners of an always empty hall and watch and wait for the next group of unbooked acts to roll on by as well.

David Pooch

Berlin

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