Ban Smoking Now
Now that Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island have smoking restrictive bans on its beaches and Bethany’s Boardwalk and soon to be implemented to the list in May is Rehoboth Beach, is it possible that Ocean City might be added to this list to show its support for no smoking on the boardwalk and or its beaches?
I am not sure where this specific topic might be sitting with the City Council, but I think it’s a good issue for discussion at a meeting in the near future.
By the time this letter reaches the editor, I will have been inducted into the National Honor Society at Stephen Decatur High School. This is an honor for any student. For me to have this honor is a miracle. You might wonder why I say that.
Well, I was diagnosed with Autism when I was 3 years old. I started out in the Early Intervention Class at Buckingham Elementary School. Over time, I realized that what it meant to me was that I had to work hard to learn to talk and do things that the other kids could do easily. My family and I have not let my disability limit my life. The word “can’t,” has never been in my vocabulary. I have always focused on what I can do. The one thing I learned was that I have the support of my family, teachers and the community. I have tried to be the best I can be at everything I try to do. I have never played an organized sport but I know what it is like to practice, practice, practice, to get something right.
This letter is to thank the doctors, school administrators, educational assistants, teachers and therapists that believed in me and were patient with me when I was a little boy. I want to thank you for not giving up.
I do have a communication disorder, but I have not let that hold me back. I think one of the most important things I have tried to do is give people hope. I want parents to know that if their kids get the help they need when they are young, it gives them the best chance for a productive life.
People that have not seen me for a few years cannot believe I have my Learner’s Permit and am getting ready to take my SAT’s. I know I have been lucky to have the support of my family, my teachers, and the community. I would like to thank some special people that have believed in me and supported me.
Dr. Jill Linden, Dr. Ludwicki, Dr. Stein, Dr. Gillespie, Dr. Guarge, Easter Seals. Ms. Sharon, Dr. Jon Gaddis, Mr. Glenn Hammerbacher, Mrs. Smith, Miss. Bennett, Mr. Zimmer, Mrs. Hermsted, Mrs. Waters, Mrs. Ferry, Mrs. Snyder, Mrs. Cathell, Mrs. Ingraham, Mrs. Skipper, Mrs. Wroten, Mrs. Mourlas, Mrs. Louindowski. I have a special thanks to Miss Fooks and Mrs. Foreman. I also want to thank my grandmother and grandfather for believing in me. Dad, I love you. Mom, I know you dedicated your life to helping me. Thank you for pushing me to be the best I can be.
All I can say is that I have learned throughout my life that believing that you “can,” makes anything possible. I am so proud to be inducted in National Honor Society at Stephen Decatur High School.
Mark A. Di Buo
Concerns Over Project
(The following letter was addressed to Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan.)
I reviewed the video of the Feb. 3 2014 Mayor and City Council meeting and I have grave concerns about the council’s decision to grant permission to OC Brewing Company. In spite of the various concerns expressed at the meeting, it is disappointing to have the majority vote in favor of a brewery factory operating in our town.
I am empathetic to the Mayor and City Council’s position in needing to generate money for Ocean City. Yet this is another example of how our local politicians are grasping at straws in order to increase finances at the expense of our town’s image. I mean really, do we need another brewery, bar/restaurant in Ocean City? It should be evident that Ocean City is oversaturated with similar businesses competing for the same patrons, whether it is shops on the Boardwalk selling T-shirts, or bars/restaurants on the highway.
The Mayor and Council invest over $5 million on marketing our generational family image; yet events like the dud cars, hip hop concerts, the prospect of a sport gun show along with the oversaturation of bars is taking the town in a different direction. Instead of changing our town’s atmosphere from family friendly to party zone, take a look at the history of other seaside resorts that experienced that shift such as Virginia Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Jersey Shore. Once lost, it is almost impossible for a resort to regain a family image.
Oversaturation of the market will dilute, not increase our town’s finances. Our local officials need to be aware that the decisions they make today concerning our town will impact us for generations to come.
Mayor Meehan, as a taxpayer I would appreciate a response please.
Rachel Gulley Fiorello
As a cancer advocate I want to publicly thank Sen. Jim Mathias, who represents Ocean City, for his support of Senate Bill 410, which would have prohibited tanning bed facility operators from allowing minors to use tanning beds.
This is an important health issue in our state as tanning bed use is on the rise among high school aged girls, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Use of tanning devices before age 35 increases the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers by 59 percent. While information about the risks of tanning bed use is readily available, young women in particular continue to use tanning beds. An epidemic of melanoma and other skin cancers is likely unless minors are prohibited from using tanning devices.
On behalf of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, thank you, Sen. Mathias, for supporting legislation that has the potential to save lives in Maryland. We’ll be back next session in hopes of passing this important bill.
Jean S. Holloway
Budget Facts Alarming
The Ocean City Council voted Monday to amend last year’s budget, crammed at the bottom of the first page of a lengthy “agenda” that passed with little fanfare. There are very alarming facts and trends within the budget that taxpayers must be made aware of. The Council and Mayor have avoided disclosing these facts.
First, there has been huge growth in Ocean City government over the last 30 years. The new Budget amendment increases spending by $7,833,868, bringing total spending to a new record of $131,972,537, up 730% since $18,000,000 in 1984, 30 years ago. That growth occurred while the visitor base has not even doubled and the resident population has declined, according to the citys’ own financial statements. Although over $4 million of the spending came from grants (taxes levied by another government), over $2.1 million of the increased spending came out of general funds generated in Ocean City. Are these huge increases in the cost of local government sustainable? Are businesses straining to pay the bills or relocating outside Ocean City?
Over the last five years, a trend has emerged which almost guarantees another tax increase, if not prior to the election, than in the year that follows. Since the 2009 peak real-estate tax revenues of $47,881,933, in 2010 they declined to $43,808,149 despite a tax increase [up from 38 to 39.5 cents per $100 of property value] and dropped to $42,731,367 in 2011 even though the recession had ended in 2009. In 2012, revenues dropped again, to $42,555,644. Unwisely, the council fashioned a much larger tax increase for 2013 [from 39.5 to 45.85 cents per $100, or 16.1%], thinking it would turn the tide of declining revenue. Not surprisingly, this failed yet again, with revenue dropping to $41,618,457, a decline of $937,187.
This approach does not work in Ocean City, or any other city in America. Ask Detroit. Get ready for a third bonehead attempt to increase revenue by increasing tax rates. The city staff and the pandering council majority will tell you, “You have the lowest taxes around” and “look at all the benefits to living in Ocean City”. The people of Ocean City know the truth and are not that easily deceived. It’s time to say no. It is time for a change. This cycle of higher tax rates and lower revenue can only be reversed by lower tax rates. President Kennedy knew this in 1962; why have we forgotten it?
The Council and Mayor will undoubtedly tell you they are not going to raise rates. If so, keep an eye on the debt. If we get together and simply say no to reduced revenue and higher rates, we can take back our sunny seaside resort from a government that has led us into a problem now and is still in full denial.