The Ocean City Mayor and Council could be soon taking up the familiar issue of baggy pants, which have become increasingly prevalent in the resort in recent years.
The issue of adopting a new standard for decency making it illegal for pants to be worn too low below the waist is not new, as Councilman Brent Ashley addressed the issue in 2011 but did not get much support, even from his closest allies at that time. The headline I recall writing at that time was something like, “Ashley Wants Resort To Be State’s ‘First Crack-Free City’”.
Ashley appears to have a new lease on the issue now with the City of Wildwood, N.J. establishing an ordinance this week outlawing baggy pants on its Boardwalk. That resort’s ordinance specifically states, “The waist-band of shorts, swim-trunks, pants and/or skirt shall not be worn more than 3 inches below the wearer’s waist, interpreted to mean at a level below the crest of the ilium, so as to expose either skin or garment underneath.” The ordinance continues, “the City of Wildwood has received numerous complaints from residents and visitors who frequent the City’s Boardwalk and consider certain dress, or lack-there-of, of a certain proportion of persons on the Boardwalk as offensive, indecent and alarming to themselves and their children … the City of Wildwood markets its Boardwalk as a family friendly environment with its residents and businesses relying heavily upon the tourism industry…”
Wildwood’s ordinance even requires people to wear shoes and shirts on the Boardwalk, meaning no bathing suits allowed. A citation for not less than $25 can be given to violators with subsequent offenses resulting in higher citation amounts. This is an interesting issue, one that comes with constitutional concerns. Wildwood, N.J. Mayor Ernest Troiano has been quoted by multiple media outlets on the matter, and he said the city’s legal team evaluated the issue and it’s believed the ordinance as written will be able to overcome any court challenges about it being unconstitutional.
With a flurry of emails circulating this week among Ocean City Mayor and Council members and Tourism Commission members, it appears a certainty this issue will soon be discussed at City Hall. What is unknown is whether the support is there to move forward some sort of ban similar to what Wildwood did this week.
Berlin landed its new town administrator this week, and it appears the marvels of technology went a long way in expediting the process.
The new town administrator will not start her duties at Town Hall until sometime in the fall, but the town should be applauded for filling its current vacancy in quick, affordable fashion.
It was indicated by Mayor Gee Williams that Skype, an Internet-based program that allows for video face-to-face conferencing through the computer, played a huge role in the process. That’s a great thing, but I do find it ironic that the same town utilizing this technology also requires voters to stuff their handwritten choices into wooden boxes on Election Day.
Personally, I find this style of voting charming in today’s computer world, but I figured the irony was worth a mention.
Judging crowds is tricky business in Ocean City, but demoflush estimates confirm the tourism season has been lighter than usual thus far. In fact, demoflush reveals a disturbing trend – dating back to the last week February, average crowd totals have been down from the same weekend the prior year for the last 15 weekends, including a 18-percent drop on Memorial Day weekend and a 24-percent decline last weekend.
The most recent weekend averages compared to the same time period last year are as follows: May, first weekend, 127,386, down 8.4 percent; May, second weekend, 181,090, down 5.2 percent; May, third weekend, 231,548, down 17.8 percent; May, fourth weekend, 176,596, down 9.9 percent; and June, first weekend, 204,647, down 23.5 percent.
Demoflush has its critics, and the doubts are justified, but it’s a useful tool when comparing crowds from year to year.