Between The Lines

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One of the recommendations included in Ocean City Engineer Terry McGean’s proposal to overhaul the Boardwalk surface and support system was the installation of fiber optic cable for security cameras.

While this may touch a nerve with some who are bothered by the “big brother” nature of it, I think there are benefits to placing cameras on the Boardwalk, and there’s no better time to apply the infrastructure for them than while the entire Boardwalk is being reconstructed.

Although it seems to have generally mellowed a bit in recent years, it’s not a secret anymore that some seedy elements gather on the Boardwalk during the summer at night. A rather infamous riot-like incident took place over Memorial Day weekend 2009, and there are weekly incidents in the summer of varying severities.

It seems appropriate for some cameras to be placed in strategic locations along the Boardwalk to help with crime. Some well-placed signs alerting people of the fact they are being recorded would be wise as well. It will not deter all crime, but there’s no question the footage the cameras record will help with criminal investigations and that overshadows those “big brother” concerns.

Data is now starting to trickle out of the U.S. Census Bureau, and there are a lot of political ramifications. Population densities, or change therein, will likely result in significant redistricting of political jurisdictions in Maryland and in Worcester County. While we wait for the Dec. 21 release of state and local data, which will be used to carve out new state and county political districts based on population surges or declines, some less consequential numbers are now starting to become public.

For example, according to the Census Bureau website, 59 percent of Worcester County residents returned their mailed Census forms, as compared to the state average of 76 percent and national average of 74 percent. This number can largely be discounted as significant based off the fact so many of the local properties are second homes and most property owners likely filled out their forms in the primary residences.

A topic raised at this week’s Ocean City Mayor and Council meeting deserves some consideration around budget time. Privately, there have been some murmurs on whether the city should run its own air show. A step in that direction would be sending Special Events Director John Sullivan to the annual international convention where many of the bookings for air shows across the country are made. The Tourism Advisory Board made it clear it supports Sullivan joining the event’s current organizer on the trip. The board wrote this would “further strengthen the relationships required to continue the Air Show success.”

Considering the amount of money Ocean City spends on hosting this tremendous event and all the services that go into it besides the seed money, this is a matter that deserves more attention around budget time. There are a lot of particulars that would go into this transition, but Ocean City has the staff to organize this type of event and many of these folks are already involved with it on many levels.

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