Let’s Get Back OC’s Pride
I have followed silently for months now as the town I have loved since childhood appears to be crumbling like a house of cards. I find it appalling that four arrogant, ignorant, incompetent City Council members can wreak such havoc on an entire town, its employees, residents and visitors.
I always believed that Ocean City was and is the product of those who devoted their livelihoods, time and sincere efforts into making it one of the best cities (if not the best city) in the state of Maryland in which to reside or visit. What’s happening to this town is an embarrassing atrocity. We are losing key employees who have made Ocean City what it is today. Who can blame them, after the repulsive way our city manager was "asked" to resign following almost 30 years of hard work and dedication? Why would any honest, qualified individual want to devote his or her career to a town that has proven itself capable of such appalling misconduct?
As a former resident who still loves and cares about Ocean City, I implore all voters to go to the polls this October. And if you are not registered to vote, please do so today. Don’t let four simple dolts continue to represent all the hard-working, intelligent employees and residents who call this resort town home. Get back the pride, get back the integrity. Only you, the voter, can make this happen. You deserve it, and so do the thousands of visitors who call Ocean City home each summer, even if it’s only a week.
Court Ruling Puzzling
Thank you to Judge Ellen Hollander and the U.S. District Court for deciding to allow the sale of "expressive communication" on the Ocean City Boardwalk.
In light of this ruling, we have decided to sponsor a small army of performers wishing to express themselves wearing bright canary yellow and fire engine red "K-Coast Surf Man" outfits, including a beautiful cape and custom matching tights, on the Boardwalk to sell, rent or exchange for a donation (Donation Judge Hollander? Why that pesky sales tax collection and associated paperwork is just for chumps) their self-composed works of art including books, pamphlets, and photographs but not limited to these inherently communicative forms of expression with titles to include (but, of course not limited to) "Ode to the Buy 2 K-Coast T-Shirts and get 1 Free", "All Backpacks 20% Off" and that soon to be Boardwalk staple "$10 Off Any Bikini".
After all, who is it that determines what is the difference between the plaintiff’s art (also available at his online store starting at $40) and that of our own soon to be caped crusading K-Coast Surf Man #42? Perhaps hundreds of other businesses that are required to obtain Town of Ocean City Business Licenses, State of Maryland Trader’s Licenses, Sales and Use Tax Permits, Outdoor Display Permits, Sign Permits etc. will now also step up and sponsor legions of performers to distribute their company sponsored, performer created "expressive material" all over the boards, except at North Division Street, of course.
So let me get this straight again, I need permits and to pay fees of all sorts to set up shop on private property, but on public property, no problemo! Surf Man the performing artist … up, up and away faster than a speeding train through Pandora’s Box.
Mark A. Pugh
Tourists Must Pay Share
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander “.
What brought that expression to mind? In last week’s Coast Dispatch, an article, “Official’s Comments Criticized”, the spokesman for Citizens for Ocean City, Joe Groves, was visually and vocally upset with a remark Councilman Joe Hall posted on a Facebook page.
Councilman Hall made a comment about how “the day trippers and visitors flood our roads and trash our town ride free.” This statement was made in support of his idea to increase the number of parking meters in order to raise revenue to help pay for Ocean City’s badly needed road repairs.
Now I will be the first to say “trash” was not the appropriate word to use. But the message was clear. The day trippers and visitors need to help with Ocean City’s infrastructure if they are going to use it. So in Councilman Hall’s passion for parking meters the word “trash” came out.
So Joe Groves decided to attack Joe Hall personally in a televised public meeting. Groves said, “Before you write something, you need to have somebody else look at [it] or take a class in English 101.”
What an inappropriate and disrespectful thing for a spokesman to say. Obviously, Mr. Groves has an agenda. Those remarks could have been made in private and on a one-on-one basis. But it seems Groves was more interested in grabbing headlines than he is in making Ocean City a better place to live.
So if you are Groves, it appears it is okay for him to deliver passionate ill-willed comments, but it is a mortal sin for someone else.
To make matters worse, just prior to Groves’ outburst, he accused the entire council of not giving him the respect he deserves.
So I guess it was a case of “do as I say, not as I do”?
I have only spoken with Joe Hall on maybe two or three occasions in the last three years. But I can tell you from viewing and attending several of the council meetings, Joe is a very bright and intelligent man. He may not always communicate his thoughts well, but his input should be treasured by the citizens of Ocean City.
As for Groves, if I was one of his followers I would have to take a step back and question his inconsistencies and agenda.
And what is wrong with meters for the people that use Ocean City’s roads? Of course, the easier alternative is to just raise the property taxes. But Joe Hall is looking to diversify the city’s revenue stream just like any smart businessperson would do and to have those that use the roads to pay their fair share.
Now what about that goose?
Paid Parking Proposal
Well the topic of extending paid parking has come up again.
This will be the third time in two years I have suggested a fair remedy and hopefully someone in City Hall will read it this time and actually give it some consideration.
My proposal would be to add parking meters to all the oceanside and first block of bayside streets from 130th to 146th streets.
This would make the people coming in to town for the day from Delaware (where there is no free beach) help pay for the needs here in OC.
Why should the day trippers be allowed to come into OC and use our facilities while parking for free?
There could be parking permits issued to all the home owners in the upper end so they would not have to feed the meters. This could easily be accomplished by sending out three permits per household with the property tax bills.
I’m sure over the course of a summer much additional revenue would be collected.
Drug Shortage Problems
Unless you, a family member or friend has been touched in some way by cancer, you may be unaware of the situation today with respect to drug shortages, particularly in the form of injectable chemotherapy. It doesn’t stop there, however.
When my friend who is battling ovarian cancer told me she could not take the chemotherapy treatment, Doxil, that was recommended because there is a worldwide shortage of it, I was astounded. Sold by Johnson & Johnson but manufactured by Ben Venue in Ohio, it is currently out of production because, according to Ben Venue, their manufacturing machines need to be overhauled. However, they cannot say when or if they will be back on line. They are the only manufacturers of Doxil.
As I researched, I found that there are many such drugs, several but not all having to do with cancer treatment that are in short or no supply.
I have included a link for those who are interested to an article by a cancer advocacy group that describes the situation very well. (Sorry, it’s a long one but if this letter appears on the newspaper’s website, you can copy and paste.) or go to www.coaadvocacy.org and watch the short video on their home page.
According to this article by an oncologist from Utah, Dr. Richard Frame, “…When we started Doxil there was no hint on the radar screen that Doxil would become unavailable. In 2008 three cancer drugs were on back order. In 2011 twenty-three cancer drugs have difficulty getting from the supplier to the patient. The reasons for the generic drug shortage are multiple and complex. Cancer care in the United States is deteriorating. Chemotherapy drug shortages are just at the tip of the iceberg. Doctor shortages, increasing use of hospitals and decreasing use of outpatient cancer clinics are on the horizon.”
I have contacted Congressman Andy Harris about this issue and have found that there are indeed some hearings underway and additional ones planned by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. They are keeping me informed. The Senate has had hearings as well and you can listen to them on line. They indicate a shortage of more than 200 drugs.
Problems range from pricing structure, to so called “gray market” gouging, to problems with the FDA approval process and to manufacturer equipment problems. So it is a complex situation but something that needs prompt action. If you have computer access, you can search for “drug shortages 2011” and you will find a lot of information about it.
The point of this letter is to bring awareness to the public of the situation so that some of you will contact your legislators or the drug companies directly and keep the pressure on for a resolution. We cannot afford to let this linger in long drawn out committees. People’s lives are at stake and it might be your own one day.