Thoughts From the Publisher’s Desk

Thoughts From the Publisher’s Desk

Although it’s not an election year, some early fundraising is currently taking place that will certainly shape the local political picture next year.

Last month, a successful fundraiser for Delegate Jim Mathias was held at Seacrets and hosted by some prominent business owners in the resort area. The mere fact the event was held this far in advance of the election cycle makes it clear Mathias, a Democrat and former long-time mayor of Ocean City, is planning to seek office again, but it’s too early to tell if it’s for re-election to his District 38B seat in the House or for another office, perhaps on the Senate side. It’s early yet, but not too soon to put some money in the bank. Mathias, a seasoned campaigner, understands how much money it takes to organize a successful bid for office.

Along those lines, some local mailboxes were filled this week with flyers announcing a fundraiser for Michael James, who missed a seat in the House of Delegates in 2006 by 238 votes after winning the Republican primary. James, managing partner of the Carousel Hotel, made it clear this week he is planning to run again next year. However, James said this week he is not certain what post he will be seeking next year. Instead, the campaign flyer being distributed and T-shirts donned by supporters at the Tawe feast in Crisfield Wednesday says “Maryland General Assembly,” leaving his options open. James wants to see what lower shore Senator Lowell Stoltzfus decides regarding his political future before making that call. It has been speculated privately and publicly that Stoltzfus will not seek re-election, but there has been no official announcement. James’ fundraiser, featuring former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, will be held at the Carousel on Sunday, July 26.

In the Request For Proposal (RFP) for the town’s next advertising contract, there is a sentence that raised some eyebrows this week. “Target Market: Adults 25 to 54 with HHI [Household Income] $75K+, well educated and who work in managerial and professional occupations. The majority of our visitors are married couples with children.” During this week’s review, the Mayor and Council decided to remove this phrase and not to specifically address a target audience in the RFP. In order for the town to be consistent in its message, this was a wise decision. On one hand, the resort cannot say we are an affordable family vacation destination, while specifically saying the target market is homes with more than $75,000 in income. It seems to me to pigeonhole certain folks for a target audience would be unwise. One of the thing I have always loved about Ocean City is it’s a melting pot, particularly in the summer months. Walk the Boardwalk on any summer night and you will see what I mean. There’s a wide range of social-economic backgrounds represented, and that’s a good thing. To pick any household income figure, even $75,000, seems arbitrary and unnecessary.

Folks renting scooters should have to wear helmets. It should be a state law, but Ocean City is looking to get something on its books until state legislators come to their senses on this issue. Currently, in Ocean City, helmets are optional. They are offered, but most do not wear them. It should be mandatory. The fact is many of these scooters have the ability to go high speeds. Last week I saw a scooter easily pass a northbound city bus on the left, swerving into traffic, narrowly avoiding a collision with a car, to get around it. It appeared the bus was simply going too slow, but it was at least traveling at 25 mph. The scooters are a safety issue, and the vacation mentality of many visitors, particularly those of the teen-age mindset, makes them even more susceptible to injuries or worse. A voluntary suggestion has not worked. Most of the rental companies this week agreed a mandatory helmet law was a good thing. At least one proprietor had financial concerns, saying people will not rent if they have to wear a helmet. I find that hard to believe. If an 18-year-old and his three buddies go to rent scooters with a helmet law in place, it seems to me they will all have a good laugh at each other, don the helmets and ride off. They may take the helmets off down the road from the scooter rental, but that’s when enforcement comes into play.

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.