Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk


It’s official — autumn has become automotive season in Ocean City.  There is nothing new to that. It’s been this way for some time, but the growth of the events or at least the audience they attract could have locals feeling burnt out come mid-October and businesses thankful for them.

I personally like these auto events for the most part because they are economic engines for the resort and surrounding areas. For instance, the middle week in September is now a major one for Ocean City because of bike week events. Fifteen years ago, that was not the case. It was literally much quieter but nearly every business in the area would say it’s one of the best weeks of the year for them now. This year OC BikeFest and Delmarva Bike Week will fall on Sept. 17-20.

The next weekend is Sunfest. The last weekend in September is typically known as the VW/Audi weekend, or H2O International, but this year the promoter understood he needed to move the event back a week to the first weekend in October so it does not coincide with Sunfest. In fact, he said this week the first weekend in October will be its permanent home on the calendar.

The following week will be Cruisin’, and I am interested to see if there are any ramifications from the convergence of these diverse groups. Merging the punks with the foreign-owned cars still in town from the H2Oi weekend with the classic cars of Cruisin’ has the potential to be a nightmare. At a minimum, it will keep law enforcement scrambling and likely lead to huge increases in violations and overtime costs for the city. Next up after Cruisin’ in October is the typically tame corvette weekend.

Are four significant crowd-generating events rooted in wheels within a five-week stretch too much? It will most likely depend on who you ask. Residents with little stake in tourism will almost assuredly say yes because of the traveling inconveniences and the “takeover” feeling associated with these large event crowds, while businesses and service industry workers will disagree, crediting them with for ending the season on a strong note.


It seems absurd to even be thinking about another multi-million dollar expansion at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what Ocean City officials are doing, as the Mayor and Council agreed this week to move forward with a request to the Maryland Stadium Authority to share in the cost of a feasibility study to expand the main exhibit hall.

From a planning perspective, it makes sense to get the ball rolling early with the paperwork part of the process, which will include market analysis and research as well as interviews with current conventions to determine whether an expansion is needed.

If the study comes back favorable, as most do, Ocean City could be breaking ground on another expansion within three years. That’s not long at all and seems ridiculous when considering the ribbon was just caught this winter on the new performing arts center, which by all accounts is a beautiful facility but has in no way proven to be a success on any level as far as an economic engine and being able to host events of note. There’s optimism about it being a major player for the commercial sector, but in no way has that been proven as fact. It’s just too early to tell if it will meet expectations over the long run. I believe it will be, but more than likely it will be five years before any sort of rational conclusion can be made on the facility’s prosperity.

The fact some conventions want extra exhibit space is good to know and valuable information, but is that demand enough to merit more millions of dollars being spent at the facility in such a seasonal town. I hope my early inclinations are wrong on this prospect.

This discussion will largely come down to whether the city is in jeopardy of losing the business of the Maryland Municipal League and the cheerleading events, for example, if it doesn’t expand the convention center. If that’s the case, this phase should have leapfrogged the performing arts facility in priority. The performing arts center will surely provide some help to some of these events as far as space, but if it’s strictly large volumes of open floor that’s desperately needed then a mistake in judgment was made along the way.


This week’s discussion involving the Ocean City Fire Department’s headquarters project was disturbing on several fronts.

First, there needs to be something concrete put forward on possible health issues being caused by poor ventilation at the building. If that’s truly the case, improvements need to be made today.

Secondly, there was the discourse over the water tower being removed earlier than expected and whether that merits a new design for renovating the headquarters on 15th Street or if building a new standalone facility adjacent to the current one would be suitable.

Ocean City can address the fire department’s concerns with the headquarters on 15th Street through a renovation. Razing the structure and building a new building on the site would be an abuse of the public’s trust, particularly considering a new station was just built in north Ocean City and an argument could be made the mid-town station merits more attention in the first place.

It was nice to see several elected officials balk at the change of direction this week and the fact more than $100,000 could be wasted in design fees if a new direction is selected. I hope that skeptical approach pervades when the topic returns for further discussion in a few months.

Ocean City Handled Smoking Restrictions Well

While there seemed to be some unnecessary over-deliberation at times, the Town of Ocean City overall handled the process of transitioning to an official restricted smoking beach resort well. Ocean City has always encouraged smoking restraint on the beach by spreading out cheap smoking receptacles along the beach and making some mentions on signage, but it has never been an … Continue reading

State Losing Millions On Procurement Failures

Courtesy Baltimore Sun As members of the Maryland General Assembly wrangle over budget cuts and deficits, it’s tempting to think that there’s a quick fix to the state’s fiscal problems. But what if there was a way for the state of Maryland to save money that didn’t involve raising taxes, fees or surcharges, didn’t require cutting programs and maybe could … Continue reading

Voices From The Readers

Say No to More Government Monitoring To the Members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee: We find no legislation in recent memory to be as deeply disturbing as Senate Bill 787 (Enhanced Identification Documents). Although this bill stipulates that participation is “voluntary,” any attentive observer of government will understand that such laws have a strong tendency to metastasize, eventually becoming … Continue reading

Hiring Freeze A Wise Early Budget Move

The Worcester County Commissioners made an easy call this week to institute a hiring freeze in light of serious budget deficiencies that need to be reconciled this spring. Why it was decided in closed session and announced via press release without public comments from the commissioners is unclear, however. Once again, the commissioners continue to show a penchant for making … Continue reading

Voices From The Readers

Correct Decision On Wind Turbine Editor: As a passionate, appreciative and caring friend of Ocean City, I respectfully disagree with Editor Steven Green’s opinion of the decision on the OC wind turbine. He called the decision “disappointing,” a “shame” and a “poor result.” The only term he used that I agree with is “surprising.” I am surprised that the correct … Continue reading