Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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With no slight intended to the five other finalists, particularly Captains Kevin Kirstein and Mike Colbert, who served as acting chiefs during the extensive search process, I like Ocean City’s selection of Ross Buzzoro as its next police chief.

Buzzoro is a 28-year veteran of the Baltimore City Police Department, having served in various leadership capacities and is widely praised for his managerial abilities and his vast experience in various aspects of law enforcement in the metropolitan area.

It’s that familiarity with an urban setting that leads me to believe he will be a good fit in Ocean City where metropolitan-like crimes and activities are becoming increasingly common, particularly during late-May and early-June. It will be interesting to see if he brings any new tactics or changes in the force, which is basically slammed three months of the year and spends the other nine months training and preparing for that onslaught.

As is usually the case, no major changes are expected this summer, considering the new chief is coming aboard during the height of the peak season, but surely he will bring a fresh perspective to the department.

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If anyone can gather the required signatures to stall the paid parking ordinance in Ocean City, it’s former Councilman Vince Gisriel, who has successfully petitioned or at least been involved in at least five signature collection efforts in the past.

Nonetheless, gathering petition signatures in the summer is going to be a daunting task for petition organizers. Sifting through who is a registered voter and who is not will be tricky business, although voter rolls obviously will help and year-round residents should expect a door-to-door effort in the coming weeks.

In my view, the odds are against the group obtaining 1,300-plus signatures during the summer months, but having Gisriel on the team is surely beneficial and could be a sign the former elected official is regaining an interest in politics.

What I am unclear on is whether the new paid parking areas have residents in as much of an uproar as petition organizers believe, particularly when Mayor Rick Meehan reported this week hearing next to nothing from the public on his compromise proposal, which would have reduced the amount of paid parking spaces identified as revenue growth areas by the City Council.

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The producers of Ping Pong Summer, the 1980s-based so-called “coming-of-age-vacation comedy based in Ocean City and filmed here last fall, were in France for the Champs Elysees Film Festival this month.

The movie was screened at the festival and the hope is the independent picture will be purchased by a major motion picture company, which will then distribute it from that point on. Other than the fact it was showcased at the festival as part of the “US In Progress” initiative and the fact the movie’s soundtrack is now being finalized, there is not much new to report.

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While I feel for the proprietors who are running a clean operation, the Board of License Commissioners made the right call this week when it rejected the beer and wine license request for Uncle Willie’s store in east Berlin.

Unfortunately, the store is a victim of that community’s past. As long as I can remember, the area has been prone to crime, mainly drug dealing. So much so that when locals drive by at night and see people strolling along the sidewalks, many assume it’s drug related. Maybe that’s not a fair assumption, but it’s reality.

All sides agree the area is in better shape now than before, but residents were right to voice their concerns about what adding beer and wine to that busy convenience store would mean. They are correct in assuming it will mean increased loitering and public consumption, and they understand all too well what comes with that.

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