Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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Ocean City Mayor and Council members were right to quickly dismiss the idea of eliminating the biweekly Monday night meetings.

Although you would not know it from Tuesday’s meeting, this proposal was getting some play from the council majority before it went public this week. Fortunately, wisdom prevailed and the ill-conceived notion was quickly shot down before this week’s meeting. However, it did take a citizen question for the issue to even be broached.

Some other governments in the area, such as Worcester County, holds biweekly morning meetings, which rarely are attended by citizens, even when public hearings are held. The public deserves the opportunity to speak out and night meetings are more than likely the best options for worker bees wishing to speak directly to elected officials on the record.

In Ocean City’s case, the current situation was not broken and it would not have resulted in cost savings. There was no reason for the change.

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Ocean City will host the Dew Tour once again in 2012, this time in mid-August. It will fall the week after the White Marlin Open, and the timing is perfect.

For years, unfortunately, the end of the White Marlin Open, always held the first full week in August, has come to signify the last of the prime weeks in Ocean City, despite it just being early August. The Dew Tour’s dates of Thursday, Aug. 16 through Sunday, Aug. 19 could mean that will not happen this year. The event will stretch the peak season at least another week, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Ocean City is always busy in late July, which was when last year’s event was held, and the Dew Tour did little to change that. It made it slightly better, of course, resulting in a 7-percent surge in crowd size and was special to attendees. However, this year it will have an even larger economic impact in my mind, as most schools are not back in session yet and it’s an event that’s certainly worth putting on most calendars.

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I like the idea of people riding horses on the beach, but not with manure being left behind. It seems silly to even have to write that.

Last week, City Council members in support of the initiative seem to be making the case that horse manure, unlike dog droppings, are clean and organic, and there should be no concerns about it being left behind on the beach. Similar comments that citizens should not be worried about horse manure being left behind were put forward this week.

Poop is poop, no matter how clean what goes in the animal’s mouth may or may not be. I don’t care what the EPA says about that. It’s a perception thing. On Assateague, horses are everywhere, and I don’t think anyone will say the droppings lying around or occasionally floating in the ocean are charming in anyway. It’s the wild horses wandering about freely that are special because it’s unique.

Clearly, anyone granted a permit to conduct horseback riding on the beach needs to be held accountable for picking up the animal’s droppings. That’s a no brainer.

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My family and I were on the Boardwalk a couple weekends ago around 11 a.m., taking advantage of a warm winter day. Whenever I am on the Boardwalk, after years of reporting on these sorts of things, I marvel over the proliferation of the sandwich-style signs advertising businesses off the Boardwalk and the loud music coming from some of the stores. These are two things the city has frowned upon for years.

On this particular morning, we could hear the music from one store about two blocks away as we played in the sand. The volume of the music was ridiculous and I figured all of us that walked by on that morning felt the same way.

Apparently I was wrong, as I was shocked to see an elderly couple sitting on a bench directly in front of the store distributing the loud tunes enjoying some Thrasher’s French fries. They had their choice of benches along the promenade and somehow decided on that particular one and preferred to face the store rather than the beach, despite the music and more likely because of it, believe it or not.

Nonetheless, the city is right to target these businesses who hurt the Boardwalk experience.

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