In the days leading up to this week’s Maryland General Assembly session, there was a lot of bipartisanship talk. Both sides of the aisle were quoted in media outlets as saying it will take a team approach to work on balancing the state’s budget and address the $1.9 billion shortfall. State Senate leader Mike Miller seemed to throw all that out the window in recent comments, confirming Republicans will be sitting on the sidelines while the Democrats make all the decisions. It’s no secret Democrats outnumbers the GOP in the legislature and essentially run Maryland and have for decades, even when there was a Republican governor in office. Miller clearly is relishing in the fact the Democratic Party dominated politics in 2008. In an interview with The Sun, Miller was outspoken on partisan politics and showed a bitter side. “[Back in 2004] Republicans were riding high. They had a Republican president of the United States. They had a Republican governor. They had aides walking around with black notebooks with people in the house they were targeting. Ehrlich was doing very well in polls,” Miller said. "I said, ‘you know they are riding high right now but what’s going to happen is we’re going to come together and we’re going to shoot ’em down. We’re going to shoot ’em down and we’re going to bury them face down, deep and far. So deep and far it’s going to take 20 years for them to come out the other side. They’ll see China from there.’ But I was wrong. It’s going to take 40 years for them to recover from what we did to them in 2008."
Town employees were spotted throughout Ocean City this week continuing to tear down the Winterfest of Lights displays erected throughout town. A lot of manpower hours and money goes into this special event every year, and I think it’s money well spent. Many people come from far and wide to see Winterfest each year, and in some cases it’s the only reason people visit Ocean City in the off-season. Usually a visit to the lights display includes a stop at a local restaurant, and that’s money that would not have been spent in town if not for this special event. It was revealed last week the town made nearly $34,000 in total revenue from the Winterfest of Lights. The 42-day event saw an average daily ridership of 1,927 compared to 1,809 last year when it was operated for 48 days. As expected with the decrease in operating days, total ridership was down, from 86,844 in 2007 to 80,915 in 2008.
Ocean City’s advertising budget is now higher than ever. It has surpassed the $3 million mark, and the plan seems to be to spend approximately $1.8 million this summer on television, print and radio advertising and the remainder on a big spring campaign in 2010. The new ad campaign is expected to center around the release of the town’s new $175,000-plus, state-of-the-art website at ococean.com. The funding boost takes place at an opportune time and with it should come high expectations from town businesses, specifically those hotels and motels that charged their clientele the extra 1 percent on the room tax for the sole purpose of boosting the town’s marketing.
Next week’s inauguration of Barack Obama as the country’s 44th president of the United States will be a memorable event, and some local kids will be watching it in school. Buckingham Elementary, specifically, will have teachers and students in its cafeteria to watch the inauguration and recently sent home a letter requesting parents add a little spiffiness to their kids’ dress that day. While I can see where some parents would take umbrage at that request, I think it’s appropriate for schools to show the inauguration of the president to students. History, of course, will be made when Obama becomes the first minority president of this country, but the history books are rewritten whenever any new president is elected. I think the inauguration of every president is a worthwhile lesson in democracy and an event for kids old enough to understand its significance to watch in school every four years.