Group Looks To Put Paid Parking Move Before Voters

OCEAN CITY – An action item list of the new OC Taxpayers for Social Justice was released this week, beginning with a petition effort seeking to put new paid parking expansion ordinance before voters next year.

The OC Taxpayers for Social Justice has formed to return Ocean City to a family-and-children, fun-in-the-sun destination by dropping retail prices so the middle class that built Ocean City can afford to return once again, according to its literature. The group feels, in order to drop prices, costs must be dropped, and taxes, fees and coercion must be substantially reduced in order to accomplish the goal. Only then can the prices charged for rooms and food become affordable for Ocean City’s historic base, the blue collar worker and their children, the group maintains.

“We are a group of concerned taxpayers in Ocean City … we are here joining with some people who have been singled out to receive meters in front of their properties,” spokesperson Tony Christ said. “We are joining with them. We are going to take up their cause to initiate a referendum to overturn the meters that have been recently approved by the city.”

Christ furthered the group’s interests are greater than the meters, but have chosen to take a position against the ordinance that has been approved to install new areas of paid parking in Ocean City first as it has become a pressing issue this summer.

According to Christ, former Councilman Vince Gisriel presented the city solicitor’s office the petition to overturn the City Council’s decision to approve the parking ordinance on Thursday. The city solicitor has five days to approve the form and content of the petition and from the day of approval the group will have 40 days to gather almost 1,300 signatures to place the parking ordinance before voters in a referendum.

“The mayor did the cowardly thing,” Christ said. “He didn’t veto it and he didn’t agree with it either, so he did nothing, and he can now tell the voters later, the ones that didn’t like it, ‘well I didn’t sign it’, and the ones that did like it, ‘well I didn’t veto it’, so he did the cowardly thing.”

The ordinance to approve the new locations of paid parking was approved on second reading a couple of weeks ago. Mayor Rick Meehan had 15 days to sign the ordinance. However, the mayor did not sign the ordinance and it became law without his support.

In attendance during Wednesday’s evening’s OC Taxpayers for Social Justice meeting was Christ, Al “Popeye” Wendling, former mayor candidate Nick Campagnoli, resident Herb Pawlukewicz,  citizen John Medlin, citizen Ellie Diegelmann, and Ocean Place condo owner in opposition of paid parking on 146th Street Mac Balcom.  

“Any council member including the mayor that would like to come to our Thursday meetings at 4 p.m. at Hall’s Restaurant are more than welcome,” Christ said. “Shortly, I think the Mayor and Council will have to make a decision. Either they have to choose being part of the problem or part of the solution.”

Councilman Brent Ashley attended on Wednesday as an observer.

“This is a perfect example of democracy in action,” Ashley said. “This is a way for the people to address the government. This is what democracy is all about.”

On Thursday, Meehan reiterated his reasoning for not signing nor vetoing the parking ordinance.

“If some of those who were in opposition would have come forward and said ‘you know, let’s look at a compromise here that will work for the majority of the people’ and would have held additional conversation moving forward, then I would have considered it but I didn’t get that response,” the mayor said. “It was like everyone had drew their line in the sand, and nobody was open to further discussion. Honestly, I don’t believe this group wanted me to veto it because they want to have something they can use as a political tool, which is a referendum.”

Meehan recognized the make-up of the OC Taxpayers for Social Justice is supporters of the former council majority that included Joe Hall, Brent Ashley, Jim Hall and Margaret Pillas. In November’s election, Joe Hall and Jim Hall were removed from office and Joe Mitrecic as well as former city manager Dennis Dare replaced them. The election resulted in a new council majority of Dare, Mitrecic, Lloyd Martin and Mary Knight and Doug Cymek, leaving Ashley and Pillas to fend for themselves.

“It is all politics, and a carryover from the last election. Their side didn’t win so now they are doing whatever they can to disrupt the new council. I would hope they would give the new council an opportunity in their first term to succeed. That would be in everybody’s best interest,” Meehan said.

7 comments on “Group Looks To Put Paid Parking Move Before Voters

  1. I think citizen’s groups should be encouraged and as long as they remain respectful to other opinions the Mayor and Council should attend. There are some groups that I hate and I don’t even care to listen to them but the reality is on occasion they do make some good points and have good ideas though I may disagree with their core message and mission.
    Mayor Meehan is quoted as saying the council needs an opportunity to succeed but generally in success someone/something else fails and that needs to be kept in mind and that point of view of those getting the bad end evaluated and their ideas taken into consideration.

  2. while Igenerally support the idea of petitions to bring problems to the forefront I find this a waste of time. All this appears to be because a group of condo owners ,who have free parking already assigned, want additional free parking for their guest..something here is just not right and I find this to be a waste of time and money..

  3. I support the condo owners desire to be rid of meters. Parking is at a premium in most of OC during the summer months. As a condo owner on the lower street numbers of OC, our community has one parking space per 2-3 bedroom unit. Meters would make it difficult for there to be one vehicle (either our guests or ours)on the street if a meter had to be fed all day. And ultimately “day trippers” will find other things to do rather than go to the ocean where they have to worry all day about getting a ticket. Set our streets free!!!

  4. I can’t help but feel that there’s some sort of vendetta taking place here. Just how did the selection of the “chosen” streets take place?

    I am hoping that new police chief cuts out all the fat that his predecessor left behind and these petty attempts to balance the budget go away. Get rid of the command and control vehicle, get rid of the horses, and get rid of the Segway squad. This are all silly, foolhardy expenses.

  5. This organization isn’t about parking, it’s ALL about politics.Look at the cast of characters forming the core of this group; all strong supporters of the councilmembers who lost in the last election. Mr Christ (are you really a citizen with those Virginia tags on your car) and his cronies are just stirring the pot in preparation for the 2014 election. If Mr. Christ, Mr. Hall, and Mr. Campagnoli wanted to set an example for “Social Justice” they would lower their rents and food prices to make Ocean City more affordable for the demographic the want to attract. I am also disappointed that a man of Mr. Gisriel’s stature would allign himself with this group unless he still feels a desire to be the mayor of Ocean City.

  6. This is all about the parking issue, the government process, transparency, the process as to how the streets were selected, the public notification process or lack of, the lack of consideration of the public input, the arrogance of the council members during the 2 scheduled readings of the ordinance and the purchase of the cale machines ($92,000) after the April 19 meeting PRIOR to public input and PRIOR to passing the ordinance. This council ignored the process. Let’s not make the Mayor tell another untruth by saying “they are spare machines”. Certainly the town did not need 13 spare cale machines. It was a done deal on April 19. The 2 meetings for public input was simply a formality that bored most council members. When council members make statements: I’m not going to debate you, I am not going to change my mind, well that pretty much sums it up…It’s a done deal. The Process is flawed. Sign the petition.

  7. This is silly and sad at the same time. I expect this from big Congress ~ not in my Ocean City MD.

    ~BUSHMAN!~

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