Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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In a recent email to “friends/investors/parents”, Ping Pong Summer Producer George Rush outlined an exciting timetable for the movie’s release.

The independent movie, produced and set in Ocean City last fall and tells the story of a young teen enthralled with hip-hop and ping pong, is expected to be ready for the upcoming international film festivals in Toronto in September and Sundance in January 2014 . How this works is the movie is shown at film festivals and the goal is for a major motion picture company to purchase it and then distribute it on a large-scale level. At least that’s how film producers pitched the concept to prospective financiers at a meeting at the Hilton in Ocean City last summer.

In his email, Rush explained the process further. He said Director Mike Tully and Editor Marc Vives have been editing the film for the last four months. “It is amazing, and I know Mike is beyond excited to unleash it on the world,” Rush wrote.

According to Rush, the film is now in the sound design process, which will include adding 14 1980s songs to the movie, and will then need to be “color corrected” to reflect 1980s time period.

Rush said the team had hoped to have the film ready for the Cannes film festival in mid-May, but an industry change in the sound design world has prevented that from happening.

“Foreseeing there are no hiccups, the film should be complete by the end of May,” Rush wrote. “… Prior to our premiere we will have a private screening for cast, crew and you, somewhere in Maryland, either Baltimore or Ocean City, so you’ll have an opportunity to see how great this is prior to it hitting the marketplace.”

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What is taking so long for the contracts between Ocean City and the unions to be ratified?

That’s a question many are asking currently. While the content of the contracts between the Mayor and Council and the local chapters of the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Firefighters are not exactly known, it’s being assumed by many that pay raises are included based off some of the comments Mayor and Council members have made in recent weeks when talking about the budget. However, worries have been sparked of late because the formalization of these agreements is taking much longer than expected.

Apparently, according to sources close to the situation, there have not been any late curveballs to derail the process. It’s just a matter of the documents getting signed by the respective memberships and for a date to be scheduled for all parties involved to sign the contracts.

"I feel the end result agreement will be fair to the current fire department union members and future hires, as well as financially responsible to the taxpayers of Ocean City," said IAFF Local 4269 President Michael S. Maykrantz last month.

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The significance of Salisbury’s election results will be immediately noticeable in the coming weeks.

Even more substantial than Mayor Jim Ireton’s easy victory was the unseating of Councilwoman Deborah Campbell by upstart Jake Day, who is an ally of Ireton’s. Day’s election tilts the council in Ireton’s favor, presumably, although it’s unclear if the new council will rubber stamp all of Ireton’s initiatives.

For his part, with his win, Ireton now should be able to guide the city in the direction he has so desired in recent years. It’s was this burning desire that often cast him in a juvenile, immature light. You can tell a lot about a person in the face of adversity and there were times when nobody liked what they saw from Ireton, who lashed out at his political foes with a sharp tongue often and has been known to skip government meetings altogether because he knew the political tea leaves were not in his favor. Even ardent supporters admit Ireton mishandled several contentious situations over the last two years.

Nonetheless, Ireton crushed Joe Albero, the man behind the SBYNews blog, in Tuesday’s election. It was not a surprise that he won, but the ease in which it happened. In my mind, the lopsided victory was as much of an anti-Albero vote than a pro-Ireton endorsement. That’s why I wondered about the impact of a third person in the mayoral race back in January when a well-known businessman decided against a mayoral run. It was my feeling this person could have taken advantage of the polarizing figures that Ireton and Albero have become and win the seat easily.

With the election now over, it will be interesting to see how the mayor advances his agenda. I suspect the first matter will be promoting the acting fire chief to the full-time post. That will almost certainly come down to a 3-2 vote of the new council. What comes next will be up to Ireton and the administration most likely.

In many ways, Ireton is now under more pressure than ever because more than likely the new council majority will, whether voluntarily or not, follow his lead on most matters. With that comes the burden of being responsible for the success and failures of the decisions and directives approved by the city. This will be new to him and it’s going to be interesting to watch how his initiatives fare in the near future.

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