Clearing Air On
In last week’s Ocean City Today, Ocean City Council member Brent Ashley stated that "we [Ocean City] push all this marketing in inner city Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, to the tune of $5,000,000 … you’re getting what you ask for." His assertion was also stated by former Council member Joe Hall in Facebook posts in response to an article in The Dispatch.
As the president of MGH, the town’s advertising agency, let me clear up these completely inaccurate statements. Almost all of Ocean City’s visitors come from four states – Maryland, NewJersey, Pennsylvania and New York, plus the District of Columbia. Our advertising is directed at attracting and retaining those visitors. There has never been one dollar of the town’s advertising budget directed at the inner city.
We primarily advertise on television, radio, billboards and online. All programming is specifically selected to reach our primary target — families traveling with their children. On TV, we buy The Today Show, Good Morning America, Katie Couric, Jeopardy, Dr. Oz, How I Met Your Mother, Two and Half Men, and many others. On cable, we buy high profile networks including The History Channel, Discovery, Bravo, A&E, Animal Planet and MASN. Our outdoor boards are on major commuter highways, not inner city streets. All of the radio stations and websites are selected with the same criteria.
Obviously, we can’t stop anyone from seeing our ads if they choose to be exposed to them, but the idea that we have ever targeted the "inner city" is completely false.
It is also worth noting that the state of New Jersey and Atlantic City have a combined $40,000,000 advertising budget this year, roughly eight times our spending, all directed at the same areas we target.
Event Trashed Park
In the past, I’ve written several letters to city officials regarding Northside Park. I’ve lived in several other states and have never seen the kind of dedication and professionalism that I see in the team who takes care of that park.
They are dedicated to their job, very courteous to visitors who go there and take pride in the job they do. I hope the city appreciates their hard work which I find as rare today.
Anyway, on Sunday I had visitors from out of town and we went to the park. For the first time since I moved here in 1999, I was embarrassed to have my friends see the mess that was made of that park by a lacrosse tournament. The fields looked like they are destroyed. It is awful. I don’t understand how we’d let that happen to this park. I hope whoever negotiated this event had sense enough to make sure there was a deposit made in case of damage. If not, I think it’s unfair to expect the taxpaying people of Ocean City to pay for the mess that has been made.
I can’t imagine how the dedicated employees who did such a good job with that park will feel when they see this mess.
Should Be Targeted
I truly find it disturbing how the June Bug pattern has not changed at all. I work in a hotel downtown on the boards and the calls to the desk this week has ranged from pot smoking, urinating in the parking garage all the way up to various noise complaints. Typical Senior and Junior behavior.
This is the height of June Bug week and I was hoping things weren’t as bad as they use to be (at Council: oh yes, they still are June Bugs and they have done nothing to un-deserve the title.) The thing I thought would be better was the amount of underage drinking. Wow, was I wrong. If anything, it is worse. In the height of this past June Bug Week, there has been four underage alcohol poisonings at our place alone. It makes you wonder what the total count is and if it’s being purposely concealed to preserve the town’s image.
One girl, 17, told paramedics she had 28 shots. I hope not from a local bar. I’ll take a break from the desk and go outside and on two occasions have watched underage kids very drunk walking around the area. We do our best to spot these kids with alcohol when they check in but usually it’s concealed within the luggage and we can’t search those items. We run the kids out and call the police but the problem seems persistent as you run one crowd out just to bring in another.
The rumor is that the town stores are doing a good job on spotting fake ID’s so the kids are bringing it with them and it makes you wonder who bought it for them. Friends of friends that are of age? Or is it the parents? I believe it is definitely both. If I go into a liquor store and buy eight cases of cheap beer, shouldn’t that set off a warning light to the vendor? OC may have eliminated most of the underage selling but it hasn’t done nothing to prevent the problem of teen alcohol poisoning.
The kids are just smarter now and so are the enablers. Time to put some laws in effect that severely hurt an enabler. And I’m not talking a fine and a slap on the hand. I mean automatic jail time to a first offender and a 100-plus hours of community service at the bus depot for the drinkers.
Resident Weighs In
On Current Events
Are you kidding me? The food merchants on the Boardwalk are really concerned that a two-ounce piece of hot dog would really suppress the hunger pains of a teenager. If they had any brains, they would advertise on the lines of, “Hey you tried their dog, now try ours or buy one, get one free.” Use their promotion to enhance their product.
You all sound like a bunch of greedy whiners. Once again, City Hall is putting it to the small people. First cut the bus days and hours. How are the workers, backbone of the town, going to get to and from work in the winter? Is the city going into the cab business? Oh, that is right, they are already in it with their medallion program.
Then to save more money, they were going to close down a wholesome activity for the kids with the skate board deal. Hopefully, saner heads will prevail.
Last year they cut back on the fireworks display to save money. Now let’s put a parking meter everywhere we can. Once again, the little person get it.
How much was spent on the cartoon crab campaign to get people to use a crosswalk? If they are stupid enough to not use a crosswalk, do you really think a cartoon crab is going to make them use a crosswalk. Twenty years ago, I suggested that instead of having meter maids roaming downtown to write parking tickets, that we put a couple cops on mopeds especially up the north end where herds of people cross, everywhere but at a crosswalk, and give them tickets. Pass a common sense law — “must cross in crosswalk or be fined.”
Imagine saving lives and making money, maybe you could use the money for another cartoon character to help save lives. Why not some graphic pictures of what happens when you don’t use the safety features that are there for your well being? I said for years in the summer, in the water they are not jellyfish but people’s brains that they throw out the windows when they cross the bridge.
This is just a pet peeve (pun intended). The state passes all kinds of laws to try to keep you safe (because they think we are all morons). Seat belts, helmets, no phone calls while driving. I just can’t understand why people are allowed to drive with a drive on their laps. I’ve seen the dogs go crazy when they see another dog in a car and if the airbag should go off, what happens to Fido? If I can’t drive with a cell phone in my ear, then there should be a law when you are crossing a street no cell phone. I’ve seen people so engrossed with their yapping on the phone they don’t ever look where they are. I’ve seen them stop in the middle of the highway to answer their phone like it is the president of the U.S. asking them for advice.
Here is an I wonder why. Why during car week at the end of Baltimore Ave. by the Hilton are the state boys walking down the middle of the street looking in everyone’s vehicles for seat belt violations, but the pickup trucks with people in the bed with no restraints are okay? They are potential missiles if involved in an accident. To me, it does not make sense.
Now if the city and state wants to make money put a speed camera on the Route 50 bridge. People fly over it while throwing their brains in the bay. If you got a little time on your hands, stand on any corner in Ocean City and count the cars where the drivers have a cell phone in their ears. I’ve had seven out of 10. I wonder how many tickets have been issued since the law was passed.
I love plants. I do landscaping, but again 20 years ago I suggested that the city send out a small car and go to every side street that enters Coastal Highway. The plants are so big and overgrown that vehicles have to inch out into crosswalks to see oncoming traffic and illegal joggers and bikers going the wrong way. People with cell phones yapping while not watching where they are going are also another obstacle you have to deal with, just to make a turn.