Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

Although the hubbub over the competing Ocean City “apps” may have been a bit overblown this week, the same cannot be said for the situation involving the taxi operators who transferred a medallion for a buck. While elected officials were reluctant to speak their minds too much on this matter this week, waiting presumably until next week’s meeting, sources indicate the city is royally upset over this situation. The taxi operators essentially extended their middle fingers to the city and laughed while doing it, and I expect to hear some frank talk from all parties at next week’s meeting about what transpired. Another thing we know for certain is the existing ordinance will be tweaked to prevent this kind of shady swap from happening again in the future. However, what’s not entirely clear is how the Mayor and Council will react at next week’s meeting and how far they will go to send a message to those involved. There are some private talks around City Hall that the city may flex its muscle to the strictest extreme possible, leading me to wonder if the “debar” word is going to surface next week.

It’s an interesting debate over whether Ocean City should have rejected a tattoo shop’s advertisement on a city bus. The town’s stance on tattoos is well documented and clear – it wants nothing to do with that industry, right or wrong. This awkward situation could have easily been avoided and saved the town all this publicity. The company peddling the ads should have never made the sales pitch to the parlor. Although the tattoo shop owner argues it’s inconsistent of the town to deny the ad when tattoos are so prevalent in today’s culture including all around Ocean City on any given day, there’s no arguing the city made it known years ago it did not want tattoo parlors in the resort. The ad firm should have known better than to approach this business, which certainly has a legitimate beef with the town’s decision.

For what it’s worth, the ad in question cost about $3,800 for six months, according to a flyer widely distributed by the sales company pitching the wonders of bus advertising. A full wrap for six months costs about $22,000, while other options vary in cost from $2,400 to $3,450.

It’s going to be interesting to see how many Ocean City Mayor and Council members turn in their city-paid cell phones in the coming weeks. In reality, all of them should, but it’s unlikely to happen apparently. Mayor and Council members could set a nice example by turning in their city-paid cell phones and in turn accepting the proposed $20/month reimbursement to use their own phones and usage plans. This will not be a huge cost-savings measure for the city even if the entire eligible workforce agrees to the proposal currently on the table, but a city-issued cell phone seems like an unnecessary perk to me for elected officials. Additionally, $20 per month is certainly enough to compensate for the elected officials’ actual use of their personal phones on city business.

A rematch is heading state voters’ way later this fall. Governor Martin O’Malley (or “Owe’Malley” as one bumper sticker noted recently) will be challenged by former Governor Bob Ehrlich. There’s no secret these guys are familiar with each other, as O’Malley easily defeated the incumbent in 2004. Clearly, O’Malley has to be considered the favorite because he’s the incumbent in a heavily left-leaning state. However, Ehrlich has a chance and he’s probably the only Republican in Maryland who has the potential to knock off O’Malley. What will likely decide the election is whether voters choose to blame O’Malley for all the state’s financial woes as well as their own fiscal concerns. That has already happened in a couple elections lately, most notable in Massachusetts with Senator Kennedy’s old seat.

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