Thoughts From The Publishers Desk

Ocean City is hoping to launch fireworks tonight to mark the nation’s independence. That’s been the plan for years, but there have been varying results of late. The resort is currently mired in a streak of bad luck with the town-sponsored fireworks displays in recent years. Three years have gone by since all went as planned with the fireworks, which are always set off the evening of Independence Day, no matter what day of the week it falls. Last year, the downtown and uptown fireworks displays, which reportedly cost around $50,000 annually, were delayed a day as a result of high winds. However, the festivities, including amusement rides, carnival games and children’s activities, went on at Northside Park. Back in 2006, a thunderstorm led officials to postpone the show about an hour. When it finally took place, the crowds had dissipated from the Boardwalk and Northside Park. In 2005, the weather seemingly cooperated and the fireworks went off as planned, but a low-level haze ruined the evening, causing the high-flying boomers to go largely unnoticed.

There’s nothing in the state comptroller’s job description about being outspoken on political matters, but Peter Franchot, the state’s top current tax collector, has proven his predecessor, William Donald Schaefer, has nothing on him. Unlike how Schaefer was viewed in his final term, Franchot’s words just might mean something. He’s an articulate and seasoned politician who is largely respected by Annapolis insiders. That’s why it was a surprise to hear the comptroller promise state voters would vote against the slots referendum. In case you missed, Franchot said this at an anti-slots rally in Ocean City last week: “Ocean City business leaders have been terrific in their opposition to slots and it takes some grit to stand up to the political machine in Annapolis. I promise we’ll prevail in November.” Strong words to be certain, but for the record, I think he’s wrong.

“If you can buy a can of beer, why can’t you buy a car?” That’s what Commissioner Louise Gulyas had to say about a request to allow car, boat and motorcycle dealerships to be in business on Sunday. Currently, only Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties are exempt from a law prohibiting automobile sales on Sunday. At the request of the local Harley-Davidson dealership, the County Commissioners decided this week to ask legislators next year to introduce a bill adding Worcester to the list of jurisdictions that allow auto sales. This is a no brainer to me. If they want to be open, they should be allowed to operate on Sundays. The days of the “blue laws” are long gone and Gulyas is right. If you can buy a case of Miller Lite or a pint of Jim Beam on Sunday, you should be able to purchase a Chevy Tahoe. In Worcester, if the county is granted the exemption, my guess is some dealerships will remain closed on Sundays during the off-season but open their doors during the season and special year-end sales.

Normally unsigned letters get tossed in the circular file around here, but I received a love letter that deserves some attention. The scribble read:

“Mr. Green,

From what I read in your column last week, you seem to have an aversion to the morning-after pill. I am interested in what you would have these vulnerable young women who drank too much and had sex the night before do when they are concerned they may be pregnant. Keep the kid as an Ocean City souvenir instead of making the ‘walk of shame’? Being in the tourism sales business, you would probably like that.”

If this person had signed his or her name, my response would have read:

“Dear Secret Admirer,

It’s not my decision to make. A woman has every right to use this type of contraception if she chooses. It was interesting to me that a pharmacy handed out on average 15 morning-after pills each day during the month of June, oftentimes on consecutive days to the same woman. That seems like a high rate to me. I wonder how many condoms the same pharmacy sold on an average daily basis. Regardless, I reported it to show what the world of safe sex is like these days.”

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.