It’s Too Little Too Late
I got a real chuckle when I read about members of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (OCHMRA) coming before the City Council a week after the Ocean City Council approved a $75 million budget for 2008 to ask for more money from the city for tourism marketing and advertising.
The OCHMRA wants to have the city budget for tourism marketing and advertising raised from $1.7 million to about $3 to $4 million. Where was the OCHMRA members when the City Council passed the $75 million budget that will raise taxes and other fees on business and nonresidents by an average of 13 percent? I do not remember any of these individuals appearing before the council and requesting cuts in the $75 million budget. There are very few people out there who do not know about what Ocean City has to offer.
People do not come to Ocean City anymore because it is no longer competitive with other vacation areas. Simply stated, it costs too much for what they get. Increasing the budget for tourism marketing and advertising will not change the fact. In my way of thinking, OCHMRA recent actions are too little too late and they should not receive any additional public funds until they offer ways to lower the costs of visiting Ocean City.
Veronica M. Potter
Disgusted By Police
(The following letter was addressed to Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette Dipino and to all it may concern.)
I would like to express my feelings toward the Ocean City Police Department during the car show week back in May. Apparently, the OCPD writes tickets for whatever they want to and we are expected to fight the ticket a few months later in court. Most people just end up paying the fine to avoid a trip back to OC and a day off work. Do you know how many people know this?
The OCPD does not know the laws pertaining to certain types of auto tags and should not write tickets for something they know nothing about.
I received a ticket for not having a hood and obstruction of view as my car has a blower. COMAR rules state that one third of the vertical height of the windshield cannot be obstructed, however, having "Street Rod" tags exempts the car from these laws. (COMAR 11.14.08.04 Line J & Line N).
You need to educate your officers before giving them rights to write illegal tickets. One (out of eight that had me pulled over) of the officers told me he could write me a ticket for the slicks on the car. I told him to look at the tires and see that they have Department of Transportation-approved stamped on the side of tires. He actually told me that he "didn’t care what the tires had on them" Personal?
Are your officers better or even higher than the Department of Transportation? What kind of answer is that? Absolutely ridiculous! They also told me that if they saw the car on the road again it would be impounded.
I understand if I was spinning tires, speeding or drunk driving that would deserve a ticket.
I am 50 years old, a responsible adult, clean driving record, never been arrested, etc. and was just "cruising" down Coastal Highway when three cop SUV’s and one OC car pulled me over. Yes, a total of eight officers standing on the side of the road actually listening to other cars doing burnouts in the background, yet the focus was on me and my car. Personal? Did the Chief of Police tell them to act this way?
Also, the officers spoke to me like I was a common criminal, very rude and nasty. What gives the OCPD the right to talk to people like that? I was very cooperative with them, all of them.
All of us think this was a personal thing with these officers. I have heard more stories of this type this year than any other year. We are not going to return to Ocean City for a car show or anything else.
It is a shame that the lady we rent a condo from will not be receiving her yearly three weeks payment from us anymore.
It is a shame that all of the restaurants we eat at (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will not be receiving any more money from us.
It is a shame that the Boardwalk will not be receiving the hundreds of dollars we spend there.
It is a shame that Jack and Sherry Hennen will not be receiving our $45 registration forms any more.
Not to mention the gas stations, the stores, etc. that we all patronize in May, July and October. Just between the three couples that I go with spend upwards of $3,000 in the six days we are there. That is just three couples. How much will hundreds or even thousands of people impact your revenue or do you care? Obviously not.
It looks like we are all following suit and will be going to Hershey next spring to have a good time at a car show and not be hassled by "cops with an attitude". That is what a car show is for – isn’t it? To have a good time and not be hassled for no reason. I now see why so many people were so disgusted with OC police and stopped going to the car shows.
Please note that in the six days we were there I passed many state police officers and they all gave me the "thumbs up". I guess they know the rules.
I know the town has received many letters of this type as I have heard so many stories of people being hassled by your police officers. I have spoken to hundreds of people and many car clubs that all had stories about being hassled by the OCPD for ridiculous reasons. They will not return to OC either.
If the Town of Ocean City does not want the car show to be held there, than cancel it and quit hassling people for no reason. It is a car show. You invite people to come to Ocean City and then end up hassling them.
Educate and train your police officers, teach them the laws and how to talk to people.
I sign this letter personally but it reflects the thoughts of many – people that are as disgusted as I am with the Ocean City Police Dept. and the way they treat people.
How About A Curfew?
I have lived in downtown Ocean City for 20 years and this will be the first time I have written an open letter to the general public. My topic is “June Bug Season”.
That portion of time in our annual season is coming to a close and once again the residents are upset and the blame-game has begun. I for one absolutely dread the coming of June. It is the only time of the year when I wish I didn’t live here. Some will say, “Why don’t you move?” I have given that a lot of thought but hey, this is my home so I’m staying. What we need here is a compromise of two entities – the residents and the business owners. Most residents would like to run the kids off entirely. Not a bad idea in my opinion but, not practical.
We need tourists here in June. The money spent here benefits everyone. But we also need some plan to alleviate the rampant chaos thrown upon the town during this time. The police are really doing a great job but they are totally outnumbered by the kids. So, let’s hire more officers you say. Okay that will only take a few hundred thousand more dollars. I just love more taxes. Don’t you?
So, last week I heard a rumor/suggestion by a source that doesn’t want to be named. Actually my wife heard it and passed it on to me. It’s not a fact but the idea has merit. A curfew. What if there was a curfew, of lets say midnight, that everyone under the age of 21 had to be at their residence. Not just a Boardwalk curfew but a citywide law. Make them all go home at midnight. Would this eliminate all the problems? No, but it would certainly take an impossible situation and turn it into a manageable one. Then, I believe, the police department could place more personnel into the neighborhoods and less officers on the Boardwalk. More presence in the neighborhoods would certainly benefit us all.
Some folks that work in town will need a pass of some sort that lets them walk home after the time limit. Those types of situations would need to be addressed but not an impossible task. Now I can already hear some people screaming. “Oh my God, the kids won’t come here if we do that. We’ll all go broke”. Think about this. I’m sure that a lot of young people would be upset by the prospect of not being able to terrorize the city at all hours. Maybe they will eventually find another destination to go to and celebrate their passage into the human race. I don’t know. But, if less and less June Bugs come to Ocean City, over a period of time the families might come back in June. Now wouldn’t that be something. A year round family resort. I like that idea a lot.
I say to our elected officials “Go forward and fear not”. It’s time to get our city back and in a way that will benefit everybody.
It’s The Inevitable
The Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (OCHRMA) bases its plea for dedicated funding from Worcester County and the Town of Ocean City in part on the increases in the costs of electricity, gas, real estate taxes, insurance and food.
By gosh, we retired homeowners on fixed incomes can relate to that. We find ourselves confronted with increased costs of electricity, gas, real estate taxes, insurance and food.
Could someone point us to the appropriate local government agency to help supplement our ongoing battle to cope with these higher costs?
A number of folks questioned the rash of condo construction when it began and then hit full stride. Now OCHRMA notes that condos owned by visitors have drained the flood of lodgers from hotels and motor inns. Not a surprise.
When the piper plays, someone eventually will pay. It had to happen in Ocean City too.
Leaders Have Lots To Worry About
This letter has been a long time in coming. It’s fine time somebody spoke up. Ocean City Counsel needs to stop worrying about petty problems like they tend to do and worry more about how to bring business back to OC.
In recent months, I was reading about how Ocean City is trying to put a stop to the Sex Styles up town and other shops like it. Live with it, almost anything found in that shop can already be found in shops on or around the Boardwalk. There’s worse clothing and items, like penis rings and finger massagers, being found on the Boardwalk.
Deal with things that are already here, like the knifes, switchblades, air guns, paraphernalia pipes, hookas, and adult oriented clothing that presents it’s self the minute our kids walk into these stores, making sure it’s the first things to be seen. I myself could care less if the stuff is here or not, but if you are going to say something to one shop say it to all. The city knew what it was getting into when it signed off on the permit to allow Sex Styles to open. The only reason it’s a big deal now is because all the locals who drop their kids in our laps and expect us to do something with them instead of spending time with them theirself are worried that their kids are going to go in the store. Sorry you have to be 18 with valid ID.
So city council stop worrying about who’s going to be lining your pockets with money, drinking your mimosas, your dry martinis, and get out of your tanning beds and learn what’s really going on in this city. For starters, the decline of tourists, since your average family can’t afford to come here anymore because of the rising costs of hotels and condos heck even the parking is an issue. The council needs to allow or even try and find other means of entertainment. Maybe a new movie theater or a mall – something for the locals and visitors alike to do. Not another condo, hotel, or Sunsations.
What’s left to do in Ocean City anymore? Nothing. The city council won’t allow for progress due to their claim of violence or the downfall of the city, but guess what it’s already happened. Two years running, there have been Russian prostitution rings broken up downtown. Just a couple of years ago, we had one of the biggest murder cases around with the Sifrit’s. Recently I’ve witnessed four to five different fights just downtown in a three-night period and even read an article about a guy who got assaulted and mugged by four girls just so they could rob him blind. If it’s violence they are worried about, get used to it it’s already here. Time to move on and do something to save this city and bring it more business.
Grateful For Support
It was during a lull in the festivities recently held at Buxy’s to help me in my fight against cancer (round two) I had a chance to reflect on all the wonderful restaurants I’ve worked in my 30-plus years in Ocean City. Friends I made 30 years ago were mingling with friends I made every stop along the way.
We have all been to too many of these functions over the years. What’s up with all the cancer in this town? I have always thought it’s no big deal, happy to help out, hey, good reason to have a party, etc. I am here to tell everyone that from this side it is a big deal. Just knowing there are so many people behind me is a source of strength that will help carry me through.
I’m sorry I wasn’t feeling better the day of the party. I wanted to hang out with everyone but I was just worn out.
I’d be remiss without some special thank yous to Buxy, Annie and the gang at Buxy’s for a great job with a bunch of knuckleheads. Everyone I talked to had glowing remarks on the job you guys and gals do.
To T-Lutz and the bretheren of musicians as always who reminded me of all the great music you all have provided all these years, rock on.
To everyone who donated their time and effort being ticket takers and bouncers for that rowdy crowd to the wonderful prizes that were auctioned off, your generosity was there for all to see.
I’ll be seeing everyone in the coming weeks to offer my personal and heartfelt appreciation to everyone involved for making the whole ordeal a little easier to handle.
State Review Needed
Paul Douglas Teaman was recently charged with his fifth DUI after crashing into a car which was carrying two small children. Irresponsible, deliberate and persistent hardcore drunk drivers like Teaman need to be taken off our roads.
Ten years ago, The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers, identified hardcore drunk drivers as those who drive with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .15 or above, who do so repeatedly as demonstrated by having more than one drunk driving arrest, and who are highly resistant to changing their behavior despite previous sanctions, treatment, or education efforts.
Unfortunately, Teaman is not the only repeat drunk driver in Maryland. Hardcore drunk drivers are responsible for a disproportionate amount of alcohol-related traffic fatalities on our nation’s roads. In Maryland, drivers with a BAC of .15 or above were responsible for 47 percent of the alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2005.
The Century Council, along with the Maryland IDC, supported legislation to create a DWI Taskforce. The taskforce will review the state’s laws, programs and practices for effectiveness and make recommendations to the state’s impaired driving plan that would further reduce drugged and drunk driving. This top-to-bottom review of Maryland’s system-wide effort to combat impaired driving will help all stakeholders identify effective solutions and practices.
The Century Council believes a comprehensive system that enables identification, certain punishments and effective treatment is necessary to reduce hardcore drunk driving. We must take action to ensure that drivers like Teaman will stay off our nation’s roads.
(The writer is the president & CEO, The Century Council.)