Between The Lines

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Ocean City’s online Boardwalk poll surpassed the 10,500 vote mark this week (10,590 as of Thursday at 3 p.m. to be exact), and it appears the all-wood surface is now the preferred option by a slim margin.

Ocean City is planning to renovate a large portion of its Boardwalk this fall as a result of substructure issues. The plan is for the supporting structure to be made of concrete with the surface material up in the air at the moment and planned for discussion by the Ocean City Mayor and Council later this month.

Last week, the town launched a poll to gauge public sentiment. As of the last Thursday, the wooden surface with a stamped concrete lane was leading the way by a large percentage. Currently, the all board surface leads with 42 percent of the vote (4,483 votes) followed by the boards with a stamped concrete train lane at 40 percent (4,182 votes) and boards with a plain concrete train lane at 18 percent (1,925 votes.)

The online poll will remain until the end of the month, and it’s worth reminding folks the results will not necessarily result in city officials making that decision ultimately. Money will surely complicate the situation.

The future of the Boardwalk has been a hot topic among the community and not necessarily just on the shore here.

Ocean City resident Brandon Thaler, a freshman at American University, has gotten an entire new set of concerned folks his age involved in the issue. Thaler, a 2010 graduate of Worcester Prep, is leading a Facebook crusade to keep the Boardwalk as a wooden surface. Thaler has a passion for the Boardawlk that stems from essentially growing up on it as a resort resident.

Accordingly, he has organized a “Save the Ocean City Boardwalk” page on the social network and in a short time has received notice that 2,250 people (as of yesterday at 3 p.m.) will be attending on Monday, Feb. 28 from noon-3 p.m. to express their wishes for the all-wood option.

“As we all now, hard economic times mean that tough decisions must be made to maintain the quality of our town. However, we must stand together in the face of adversity and say to the City Council, ‘This is our Boardwalk. A Boardwalk whose boards have been walked by locals and tourists alike for generations and generations.’ There are other ways to save money around town. And after all, what is a Boardwalk without its boards? So vote wood,”As we all know, hard economic times mean that tough decisions must be made to maintain the quality of our town. However, we must stand together in the face of adversity and say to the City Council and say "This is our boardwalk. A boardwalk whose boards have been walked by locals and tourists alike for generations and generations." There are other ways to save money around town. And after all, what is a boardwalk without its boards? So vote wood!
 Thaler wrote on the page.

Comments on Thaler’s page have run the proverbial gamut, but as you would expect most want to see the traditional wood decking continue with the renovation project.

As we all know, hard economic times mean that tough decisions must be made to maintain the quality of our town. However, we must stand together in the face of adversity and say to the City Council and say "This is our boardwalk. A boardwalk whose boards have been walked by locals and tourists alike for generations and generations." There are other ways to save money around town. And after all, what is a boardwalk without its boards? So vote wood!As we all know, hard economic times mean that tough decisions must be made to maintain the quality of our town. However, we must stand together in the face of adversity and say to the City Council and say "This is our boardwalk. A boardwalk whose boards have been walked by locals and tourists alike for generations and generations." There are other ways to save money around town. And after all, what is a boardwalk without its boards? So vote wood! As we all know, hard economic times mean that tough decisions must be made to maintain the quality of our town. However, we must stand together in the face of adversity and say to the City Council and say "This is our boardwalk. A boardwalk whose boards have been walked by locals and tourists alike for generations and generations." There are other ways to save money around town. And after all, what is a boardwalk without its boards? So vote wood!As we all know, hard economic times mean that tough decisions must be made to maintain the quality of our town. However, we must stand together in the face of adversity and say to the City Council and say "This is our boardwalk. A boardwalk whose boards have been walked by locals and tourists alike for generations and generations." There are other ways to save money around town. And after all, what is a boardwalk without its boards? So vote wood!As we all know, hard economic times mean that tough decisions must be made to maintain the quality of our town. However, we must stand together in the face of adversity and say to the City Council and say "This is our boardwalk. A boardwalk whose boards have been walked by locals and tourists alike for generations and generations." There are other ways to save money around town. And after all, what is a boardwalk without its boards? So vote wood!

A website designed to grade governments on their openness and accessibility on the Internet was recently brought to our attention. The site, available at sunshinereview.org is aimed at “bringing state & local government to light.” The site ranked all Maryland counties and Worcester received a ‘D’ grade. This is no surprise, as the county is not exactly on the forefront with its website, and most officials acknowledge an upgrade is needed. However, I will say it’s come a long way from how it used to be.

In evaluating the county’s website, Sunshine Review ranked “The good” as the budget is available, commissioners are listed with contact information, meeting schedule, minutes and agendas are available, annual financial report is present, basic building permit and zoning information is available and taxes can be paid online. “The bad” was that county contracts are not online, the site does not reveal whether the county belongs to taxpayer-funded lobbying associations and information on how to make a public records request is not provided.

As far as how other shore counties fared, Wicomico received a ‘C’ grade; Somerset earned a ‘F’ grade; Talbot received a C-; and Dorchester received a ‘C’. As for the state as a whole, Maryland received a ‘B’ on the transparency report card, while the counties earned a ‘C’ grade overall.

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