New Parking Fees
Will Hurt OC Rentals
The goal to increase revenue for the Town of Ocean City via paid on-street parking is not going over well with Ocean City vacationers. Visitors this summer season have shared with our Ocean City rental staff that if the town continues to move in the direction of paid on-street parking that they have invested their last dollars to the OC economy. Several vacationing families have mentioned to us that they have other choices and these are folks that have been vacationing in Ocean City for many years.
I heard Ocean City vacationers say this week when checking out that they had experienced the paid parking situation in north Ocean City while on vacation this past week. These families along with other vacationing families shared that they have had boycotted businesses, primarily one well-known established Ocean City restaurant, because they heard and/or read that the business was in favor of on-street paid parking.
Whether it is the sequester, the weather or possibly competitive vacationer destinations or a combination thereof impacting our vacationers, we have seen the vacation rentals in our Maryland beach rental operations decrease 5 percent as compared to last year, the first decrease since 2006.
Several friends that are real estate brokers in Ocean City have shared that they are experiencing similar downturns in their mini-week and weekly summer vacationer business. In light of this development, it will be highly counterproductive to implement fees, such as the on-street paid parking, that will anger and discourage vacationers from visiting Ocean City.
Finally and respectfully, our town leaders should always seek compromises. The current political divisiveness is very disturbing and rather the subsiding it seems to continue to ratchet up.
Let’s get a grip; we have our town’s future at stake.
(The writer is the vice president of Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.)
No Beach Alcohol
When I was a cop, one of the first things taught was the difference between the letter and spirit of the law. The letter of the law dictates everyone gets arrested for every infraction of the law all the time. Charge everyone and let the judges dispense the mercy.
If all police departments enforced the laws by the strict letter of the law, their police officers would not be issued warning books or be able to exercise discretion when performing their duties. I know of no such department.
The spirit of the law is what allows police officers to have warning books and discretion. It is what allows those troopers working speed enforcement on Route 50 to pull over and ticket the most egregious of speeders, while allowing those going six, seven, eight or nine over the limit to continue on their way.
Where I worked there was a huge outdoor pavilion where national music acts would come and perform before nearly 10,000 fans. One such band, The Grateful Dead, was an especially testy concert to work because of the Dead Heads and the drugs this swarm of fans brought with them. Now we knew possessing marijuana was/is illegal and we could smell it burning everywhere. The police officers present, in their limited numbers, could drive them self batty searching for and looking to arrest the thousands of fans that were sitting calmly and discretely smoking a joint and watching the concert, or we could, and did, exercise discretion, not to mention good judgment, looking for those patrons that were there to deal marijuana and harder drugs, become intoxicated and disorderly, or show absolutely no good judgment by openly smoking their joint in front of us. Our mission was not to let the few goofballs ruin the concert experience for the majority or allow them to create a personal or public safety problem.
I see this alcohol consumption on the beach in Ocean City issue pretty much the same way. I, and most, understand the spirit of the law: Don’t allow people to become intoxicated, rowdy, ruin it for the people around them, and create a personal and public risk going into the ocean intoxicated. I doubt Ocean City really wants to prevent the guy who is spending his one week’s vacation time, and $5,000 for a week in Ocean City with his family, from discretely enjoying a few cans of beer between playing with the kids or grand-kids in the sand.
My experience is the seasoned lifeguards in Ocean City get this. They only intervene when someone is drinking openly from a can or bottle as if no prohibition exists. If you discretely pour it in a cup and don’t act like an idiot, they know what you are doing, but like a good cop exercising common sense and good judgment, they recall the spirit of the law and leave you alone. If they were busy looking for people taking sips of beer, they wouldn’t have time to look over the ocean for people that really need their attention. It’s the way it should be. No campaign is needed.
David R. Etheridge
New Memorial Flag Needed
I have been tending to the Veterans Memorial Garden at the intersection of West and Main streets in Berlin for many years. I think it’s very important to remember to remember the men and women who sacrificed and died or were disabled. They kept us free and enabled us to be forgetful.
On July 4, 2013, some will remember what that day means, I was tending our garden. I sat down for a rest against the wall between the memorial stones with their names on them. I looked up and what I saw a small, tattered American flag. I cried.
I was there today, Aug. 14, 2013, tending our garden. That flag was still there. I cried.
I donate to several veterans organizations. The USO sent me a beautiful American flag. I wish to donate it to the Town of Berlin, if they will accept it.
I have left it on one of the memorial stones. I pray someone will put it up.
Officials Needs To Get
Heads Out Of Sand
All this talk about Ocean City going in the wrong direction over the last several years is not only true but very sad.
When June comes along, the high school graduates take over for pretty much the entire month. Normal decent people don’t want to come here in June there is just too much chaos. The drinking these teenagers are doing is so out of control. Their language isn’t any better as they can’t complete a sentence without screaming out the F-word. They throw trash everywhere and a great many of them are wrecking the places they are staying in. For the ones who do behave decently, they pay the price for all the others. There is always talk about when June is finally over we will all settle down and the nice families will be arriving for July and August.
What is wrong with this picture? Why do we encourage these groups of people to come here in the first place. Are we so desperate for the almighty dollar that we put up with anything? Does the town think that if all these high school seniors wouldn’t come here no one else would show up either? That is simply not the case. The kinds of people we want in town would start returning.
Not long ago the issue of banning smoking was brought up, talked about and dropped. It’s a small step but Ocean City should ban smoking on the beach, it’s a health hazard and we all know it. Other beach resorts have done it, surely it’s not out of the realm of possibilities for us to do it.
Then there was the baggy pants issue that was discussed and nothing really came of that either. If another resort town was capable of passing that law why not us? We talk about things like this and nothing ever gets done. Are we so afraid of offending these groups of people that we just put up with anything? I guess it’s alright to offend normal decent law abiding citizens that don’t want to come here anymore and don’t.
The T-shirts on the Boardwalk are so distinguishing and so in your face. The shop owners weren’t allowed to have them out front only inside their stores; well that’s not always the case as I have seen over and over again.
Sure, Ocean City has changed over the years, times have changed, nothing ever stays the same and we make adjustments for a lot of things because we are not “back in the day”. It’s a whole new world out there. But the changes in our town are not in our best interest, and we need to start doing something about it instead of burying our heads in the sand.
Beach Patrol Saluted
I want to take a moment to comment on an event that happened on July 18. My daughter and granddaughter had come down to OC to vacation with me and we had just arrived at the beach on 143rd Street and been there about 20 minutes. My granddaughter had a seizure while in the shallows of the ocean. My daughter was with her and yelled for the lifeguards.
Within 30 seconds, three guards were there sizing the situation up and handling it competently. The beach patrol arrived within three minutes and the paramedics arrived within seven to 10 minutes. They were on their way to the hospital within 15 minutes from the seizure. The beach patrol even helped me take all the beach stuff to my car so I could head to the hospital too. Everyone on the beach was so professional and thorough.
My granddaughter was transported to Atlantic General where her care there was excellent. It ended up being a medicine adjustment because of a recent growth spurt but was a scary incident when it happened. I want the people and visitors of Ocean City to know that if you have a medical emergency there that the lifeguards, beach patrol, paramedics, hospital and doctors are terrific. Thank you so much.