Voices From The Readers

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Ban Smoking Now

Editor:

Ocean City, today needs to ban smoking from their beaches. Butts are being left everywhere and it is becoming a growing problem. When somebody throws their cigarette butt on the ground, they do not think twice about where it will end up. They end up on dunes, in the sand and in the water which can also be dangerous for any marine life down there. No one wants to be looking at this litter on the ground while they are trying to have a good time on the beach.

Smoking on the beaches is also hazardous to everyone around you. Second-hand smoke is just as bad as smoking itself. People lying on the beach don’t or shouldn’t have to worry about breathing in air that could be a health risk to them. That is also in addition to the litter being left behind from these cigarettes. The beach is supposed to be a relaxing place and smoking here is a nasty habit. Having a ban on smoking would prevent these things from happening and smoking would not be such a problem on the beaches. If this law is passed, it could help the locals who do smoke and go to the beach. They might give up smoking so they don’t have to worry about it at the beach and that would help them because we all know how bad smoking is for your health. As well as having a ban on smoking, the law would need to be strictly enforced on the beaches to make sure it carries out.

Fenwick Island, Dewey Beach, Rehoboth beaches and Delaware state parks have all already banned smoking from these areas. If they have why hasn’t Ocean City? We need to step up to the plate and make a stand against the growing issue. We need to keep our beaches clean and free of pollution. This is the perfect start in that direction.

We need to take action ourselves as the locals for Ocean City. Holding beach clean ups, starting interest groups or even taking it to state representatives would help toward this cause. Smoking needs to be banned from the beaches and it needs to be done now.

Ryan Danaher

Berlin

Message Full Of

False Accusations

Editor:

Tony Christ is a man without honor, completely devoid of any creditability. I addressed this subject during the past two council meetings and spoke these words. Recently Tony spoke at a council meeting stating that city expenditures are exceeding its revenues. In order to make his case, he held up a chart that confirmed his statement. What he failed to state was that the chart had to do with valuation of building permits, not total city revenues. The chart clearly showed that the greatest value of building permits occurred during the years 2002 through 2006 with the largest valuation between 2005 and 2006. They were the years of the real-estate bubble, so of course there would be a drop in the valuation of permits after the burst of the bubble. The total number of permits increased dramatically between 2010 and 2011, according to these charts, but they were for smaller jobs so the valuation of these permits would be less. The charts had nothing to do with the total revenues and expenditures of the entire city’s budget as Tony Christ claimed. This is a great example of Tony’s deceitful tactics.

The best example of Tony Christ’s hypocrisy is how he comes before the council and complains about how there are too many bars and too much alcohol in the town. He claims that Ocean City is no longer a family resort. Yet, this strong stance he has taken on the excesses of alcohol in the community did not prevent him from renting one of his buildings to a county controlled liquor store. I guess if he is going to profit from alcohol sales then it’s perfectly acceptable. Tony is the kind of person who would chop down a redwood tree, mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.

It is the responsibility of any leader or elected official to listen to all constituents including people you would rather not listen to. In the case of Tony Christ, the Mayor and Council have done more than their due diligence. As I addressed the Mayor and Council, I asked, “Where does it say that you have to endure a constant barrage of attacks, slanderous and false accusations meeting after meeting? Council President Martin, I understand that when you became council president you had hoped to bring more decorum to the meetings and I can appreciate that. However, it is in this chamber that the majority of Tony’s attacks take place.”

Because of this, I felt that the council chamber was the most appropriate place to take a stand against a demagogue like Tony Christ. His words have no merit and the only value associated with them is in exposing him for the fraud he is. I don’t know how anyone with self-respect or a shred of decency could ever associate themselves with Tony Christ or his methods.

After I sat down from speaking these words, Tony got up and started complaining before the council, “When you have nothing of substance attack the messenger.” I had concrete examples of Mr. Christ misrepresenting charts and figures and another example of his hypocritical position on the “excesses of alcohol” in the community. As usual, he ignores the facts and evidence put before him.

I began to ponder what is Tony’s message. It’s usually a series of incomprehensible rants or letters to the editor. After much consideration, I believe I can reduce Tony’s message to its purest simplest form. The message is: the mayor does not know what he is talking about, the council president does not know what he is talking about, most of the council does not know what they are talking about, the former city manager did not know what he was talking about, the current city manager does not know what he is talking about, everyone in the finance department does not know what they are talking about, everyone who works in planning and zoning does not know what they are talking about and all the top administrators do not know what they are talking about. If you add up this group of people’s years of formal education, it would surely exceed 150 years. Again if you add this group’s years of service and experience it would easily exceed 500 years of service and experience. Yet none of these people know what they’re doing. Only Tony Christ does. If they don’t embrace his ideas regarding government and finance, then the city is doomed to suffer the same fate as Detroit.

This is Tony’s message. This is the message we have been subjected to for the last two and half years. How does he support this message? He does so with false statements, character assassinations, selective choice of data and an unwillingness to do proper research. I categorically reject this message and deplore the methods used to support this message.

Greg De Marco

Ocean City

 

Transparency Missing

Editor:

Monday night is the second and final opportunity for anyone to request further budget cuts. Although the tax rate was reduced to $0.4704, by a desperate and insulting 16% of one penny, the effects are, at best, superficial, due to a lack of transparency, accuracy and simplicity. From the city manager’s introduction (at $0.4804, a full penny higher) throughout the departmental budget hearings and the May 5 first reading, strategies have severely lacked accuracy, transparency and simplicity (whether accidental or intentional).

Inflated revenue estimates, delayed salary increases and position starts, lavish pension benefits and other bloated compensations are the primary ways that the figures are being manipulated, to accomplish any semblance of a “balanced” budget. These “smoke and mirrors” solutions are a sure recipe for disaster, just as certainly as if we were to manage your household budgets this way.

For these reasons, the only truly viable solutions involve cutting spending, – not increasing revenues (taxes and fees). One of many viable (and researched, justifiable) solutions made so far, was to cut the number of police officers in the off-season, proportionate to population. Other solutions are still welcome and encouraged.

This is not about blame. It’s not about taxpayers versus government. It’s about the very survival, sustainability and longevity of this entire city, including each and every part of its infrastructure, especially its people – both worker-bees and payer-bees.

As always, I welcome and encourage all replies, whether in agreement, disagreement or indifference, and can be reached at 410-430-0535 or noel55@comcast.net.

Ellie Diegelmann

Ocean City

 

Fiscal Restraint Needed

Editor:

This year’s county budget, for fiscal year 2015, lists proposed expenditures of $184.77 million. But the expected revenue for the coming year only comes to $176.4 million.

Now the commissioners created the Budget Stabilization Fund years ago when the economy started to go south, and its express purpose is to supplement the budget until the economy and the housing market recover.

The predicted revenue estimates for FY15 already include $6.4 million from the Budget Stabilization Fund. So this year’s budget borrows $6.4 million from the Budget Stabilization Fund, and there’s still an $8 million deficit in proposed expenditures.

The Multi-Year Projections from fiscal year 2013 estimate that the Budget Stabilization fund will be depleted by FY17. The year the Budget Stabilization Fund runs out (FY17), it is estimated the county will need an additional $2.8 million, and a $12 million deficit is projected for FY 18.

Many parts of the county budget are out of the commissioners’ control. They can’t cut the schools state-mandated maintenance of effort, nor can they control escalating healthcare costs as a result of the new health care mandate.

So here’s a few questions:

In a few short years, the county’s Budget Stabilization Fund will be gone. Will the economy and housing market have recovered by then?

If not, will County Commissioners be able to cut the budget by $12 million in FY18?

Since spending has continued to rise each year, I suspect the “solution” to this rapidly approaching financial problem will be increased property taxes.

Let’s not forget almost 67% of county revenue comes from property taxes.

The important question is, can the county afford to continue to increase spending? Maybe they can get away with it this year, but you don’t have to look very far down the road to see we are headed for trouble.

All Worcester County residents are experiencing rises in cost of living expenses. We can’t afford a property tax increase.

Please contact your County Commissioner and urge them to exercise fiscal responsibility in regards to this year’s budget. The county will not be able to continue deficit spending without raising taxes on hard working residents in the very near future.

Tuesday’s night’s budget hearing was filled with people, mainly teachers, asking for more money. County Commissioners need to hear from those of us that want them to cut spending. It’s not a question of what people deserve. It’s a question of what we can afford.

Laura Dover

Pocomoke

 

Unsustainable Spending

Editor:

Once again, the most highly-educated among us have come to demand pay increases they are “due”, according to an article in The Dispatch.

Their willingness to suspend disbelief of the economic environment which exists is unsustainable. When will the rank and file on the education front realize there is no bottomless pot of money to fund millions of dollars in new approaches to “education” and endless increases in their pay?

The unions and their ruling class elite “public servants” have arranged a stranglehold on taxpayers that includes “maintenance of effort” which results in a cycle of never-ending increases and has no recognition of economic reality. Are you aware that “American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, who was paid $543,150 last year, defended her compensation by claiming her pay is $360,000 and other reported expenses simply prove the union’s “transparency.”’ Worcester County taxpayers currently fund 90% of health premiums for these employees. How many of these individuals are responsible for supporting the “Affordable Care Act”?  What is the economic impact on the lowly taxpayers of the increasing premiums of this prime benefit?

It continues to amaze me that politicians continue to kick the bankruptcy can down the road for their children, grandchildren, et seq., to bear the consequences of their spending sprees of the present to curry favor with public employees while “borrowing” their pension funds to spend on projects left unfunded by their raids on various “trust funds”.

Your responsibility is to all taxpayers who fund the decisions you make. Please prayerfully consider your choices and ask God to direct your actions,

Gwen L. Cordner

 

Prom Impresses

Editor:

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Stephen Decatur High School, its administration, teachers, their spouses and parent volunteers who took time out of their busy schedules to volunteer for our Prom which was held on Saturday May 10.

This is an enormous event carried out by many people who work throughout the school year to gather donations, work on logistics, promote and solicit volunteers. Thank you also to our community for the enormous generosity for donations/prizes. Thank you very much for making your priority our kids and their safety by offering them a fun, safe environment to celebrate their school year both at the Convention Center and After Prom Party at Stephen Decatur.

We are very blessed to have a school system dedicated to our kids in the classroom, on our playing fields and off premises. So many volunteers spent countless hours to assure that all of our kids had fun and got home safely. Thank you also to our police agencies for their presence as well as the Berlin Fire Company for lighting in the parking lot. While we are very active within the school, we did not volunteer to work this event but we will certainly be a part of it next year.

Thank you again.

John and Kim Holloway

Berlin

 

J-Turn Worries

Editor:

I am distressed to learn the State Highway Administration (SHA) is moving forward with the construction of a J-Turn at the intersection of Route 365 (Public Landing Road) and Route 113 in Snow Hill despite the outcry of locals at a meeting held in December 2012. Although the attendees were promised a second look at the plans and SHA conceded to a safer and less expensive option by installing a traffic light at Route 12, there has been no further public discussion or posting of the plans for Route 365. A public display of proposed construction plans held on April 2 only included the remaining dualization plans for Route 113.

I, and those of us from Public Landing, who use this intersection daily are not opposed to the J-turn because of the inconvenience. We are opposed because we feel it is creating a greater hazard for that intersection; it’s an excessive measure with a huge price tag of public dollars when there’s a cheaper, more effective solution; and thirdly, it will have a negative impact on the Snow Hill and surrounding community itself related to commerce, agriculture, and recreation.

I believe that the installation of the light at Route 12 has made the northbound lanes safer at Route 365. The location of the proposed J-turn has limited visibility due to the curve in the road which will make it a greater hazard.  It will require drivers to enter or cross oncoming traffic four times (1. yield into the roadway onto 113, 2. cross over to left lane, 3. make U turn and re-enter traffic on left, 4. move to right lane to make right turn). It becomes even more dangerous for large trucks, tractor trailers, farm trucks, school buses, and vehicles pulling trailers or boats. The impact on Tyson’s Feed Mill that’s located about half mile from this intersection will be significant. Since the train no longer comes to Snow Hill, there are numerous tractor trailers using 113 to deliver grain daily. Because of the volume of commercial, agriculture, and recreational vehicles that travel through this intersection and the difficulty they will have in making this U-turn, it could result in a back-up of vehicles lined up on Route113 waiting to make the turn.

The J-turn is a multi-million dollar project and should be delayed to determine the best solution. It seems that a few warning signs and a reduction in speed limit and, possibly a traffic light, could be a much cheaper alternative.  I would like to see these precious highway dollars used to complete the dualization of 113 rather than a poorly designed project that may only exacerbate driving safety.

Marty Pusey

Snow Hill

 

2 comments on “Voices From The Readers

  1. Regarding your comment banning smoking on the beach. I have been a breach goer for 45 years. Yes, I am a smoker. However, I make sure I am not sitting close to folks. I distance myself. Actually move if people sit close to me. I have a container for the butts. I respect non smokers. So like the military, if one person causes an issue, the entire barracks is penalized? If I stop smoking, will folks keep their children from running and throwing sand on people, and infants crying, because they do not want to be on the beach? How about the foul language? One has to pick their battle. Smokers are such an easy target.

  2. I agree with val dress – great issues for further discussion regarding the beaches in oc.

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