Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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You know it was a crazy weekend in Ocean City when gun shots are fired and it’s not the lead story. The same goes for the gruesome boating accident involving alcohol and tubing. That was exactly the case last weekend. The plane crash simply overshadowed the other big events of the weekend.

It has been remarkable summer so far in Ocean City and it’s been mostly for all the wrong reasons. Aside from the crime surge and the death of two Ocean City police officers in last weekend’s plane crash, the big news so far in this summer season has been the wet weather.

Although the operator did not want to be quoted, I spoke with a business this week that relies heavily on outside seating. The owner reported 20 of the 30 days in June were negatively impacted by weather in one way or another. It either cut lunch or dinner seating short was the conclusion.

There is no disputing the fact it has not been an auspicious start, but the old saying around Ocean City is a poor June is survivable but not a bad July or August.

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Oddly enough, while the Ocean City Fire Boat was being dedicated last Thursday afternoon, first responders were on the scene of a horrific accident on Coastal Highway. A vehicle was driving north on the road when it reportedly struck an ajar manhole cover and flipped over.

Witnesses reported to this paper seeing workers near the site of the accident working under the street and even saw the manhole cover off to the side. The State Highway Administration said it had nothing to do with this work, meaning it had to be Ocean City crews working on it.

Understandably so, the female motorist has hired an attorney to pursue the city’s legal exposure. The question in this case will not be if there is liability here. That seems certain. It’s going to be whether the city or the subcontractor performing the work is responsible.

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Political tensions usually dry up around here during the summer months because everyone is busy with distractions, but not this year, thanks largely to the ongoing petition effort seeking to overturn the city’s recent expansion of paid parking. That effort needs about 1,300 signatures to get the matter placed on a ballot before voters.

In an ad this week, the Ocean Place Condominium Association, located on 146th Street, is asking registered voters in Ocean City to stop by its pool between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily to sign a petition, “to stop parking meters in Ocean City now before it gets out of hand. Your street might be next.”

The ad continues, “The Town of Ocean City selected our street (146th) to implement paid parking. We were the only ocean block street selected in North Ocean City. The reasons for picking our street are flawed and not well thought out. We tried to convey this to the Town Council but they would not listen or even talk to us about it. So our only alternative is a petition for a referendum on paid parking.”

Additionally, also stirring the local political pot was another ad, this one from a group called OC Taxpayers for Social Justice. The purpose of the group is, “To take the Town of Ocean City back from destructive governance.  Tired of parking meters, to many taxes, high water bills, crime, graffiti, vacancies unattended? Want to do something about it? Do you pay taxes in Ocean City? Come to our meeting at Hall’s Restaurant, 60th St. Monday, July 8 at 3 p.m. — Now it’s time to act.”

The ad documents the difference in the town’s budget today compared to 1985 and maintains the additional $80 million in expenses is unjustified and is causing businesses to fail due to increased expenses. The ad reads, “The increase in vacancies, graffiti, crime, drunks, and bars are symptomatic of the inner city, like New York before Rudy Giuliani fixed the problems. The high costs of government have priced OC out of our middle class market and are destroying our beach town and its family based culture.”

While this sort of language is usually only heard around these parts during election season, the group and its organizer, Tony Christ, insists this is not purely political rhetoric. If you agree, head to the meeting and see what the group is all about.

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