Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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The Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce released the results of its “Chamber Unionization Feedback Poll” last week.

Of the respondents, 74.4% requested the chamber adopt a position in opposition to the general employees’ union referendum on Nov. 6. Armed with those results, the chamber’s board has initiated a public education campaign that will include a direct mail piece as well as newspaper advertisements. The campaign’s goal is to present facts and ask voters to vote no next month to the union effort.

I was surprised by the results, as I thought the percentage would have been much higher actually, considering the chamber’s membership is dominated by business owners traditionally weary of these sorts of organization efforts.

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If retired City Manager Dennis Dare is elected next month, some have wondered if the situation will add undue stress to current City Manager David Recor. I asked Dare about that this week and he doesn’t see it. He said he and Recor have informally spoken and Dare said his first impressions are favorable of his replacement and that he has no interest in micro-managing the town’s chief executive.

“We have had some good conversations. I have never had and never will have the desire to go back to being city manager. In this past year, I have had the opportunity to do that in other locations, and I have no desire to do that. None,” he said. “I think David Recor had some bumps along the way and I suspect most of them not by his own doing, but in any case he was chosen to be city manager, and I think he has done and said a lot of the right things. I think he has good qualifications, seems to have good character. I wish him well, whether I become a council member next month or not. I support him and his endeavors. He should do well given the proper support and guidance by the council.”

Dare also was quick to remind that he will only be one of seven elected officials if elected next month.

“I will be one of seven, and I’m not going to sit down as a council person and tell David you have to do this, or that. I know better than that, as some in the past haven’t,” said Dare, referring to a lunch last summer he had with Councilmen Brent Ashley and Joe Hall. “If I think something needs to be done, it will be done as a motion and if a majority agrees that’s what we will do. If they don’t, I know the rules.”

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The news business can make one callous over time to what we report on a daily basis. I suppose it’s inevitable to some degree and probably healthy to not take some of the disturbing situations we report on to heart, but the most glaring exception in recent years for me has to be the Baby Ava case. It’s impossible not to be moved and disturbed by this story.

The then-18-month-old toddler was riding in a car driven by her mother last year after running an errand when they were violently struck from behind while sitting at a stoplight in Ocean City by a man high on PCP. The toddler is now blind, suffers from brain damage and has had seven surgeries in 10 months. Her life will never be the same. The same goes for her poor parents.

The extent of her injuries was long suspected but officially confirmed when her parents gave emotional testimony during a sentencing hearing last week. The man responsible for this life-altering event received 10 years in jail, despite the fact he could have gotten 21 years.

Disagree or agree with the sentencing, squeeze your kid(s) with particular affection today because that could have been any of us sitting at that light on that December day last year. Even if they are grown and on their own, shoot them a text message or a call to remind them how you feel. It’s the randomness and unfairness of it all that gives me pause and reminds me to keep life in perspective.

State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby put it best, saying, “Close your eyes and imagine sitting at a traffic light. You probably did it today, yesterday, the day before. Now, imagine in an instant everything is changed. Imagine how everything is taken from you.”

It could have been any of us.

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