Thoughts From the Publisher’s Desk

Thoughts From the Publisher’s Desk

This year’s budget
session in Ocean City confirmed a lot about the inner dealings and feelings
among members of the Mayor and Council. The various conversations at City Hall,
eye rolling and other machinations prove a voting block is alive and well. There’s
no disputing that Council members Jim Hall, Joe Hall and Margaret Pillas side
together on many issues and are usually outnumbered by colleagues Doug Cymek,
Mary Knight, Lloyd Martin and Joe Mitrecic. Mayor Rick Meehan falls into that
latter group on most issues. The budget vote is the latest example of this

It’s been interesting to
watch these sides work over the last couple years, and this polarization will
surely play a role in this fall’s election when Pillas, Martin and Mitrecic
seek re-election. Only Pillas has confirmed publicly she is running again, but
Mitrecic told me on the record last year he wants to stay in Ocean City and
dismissed any notion he would try to dethrone Commissioner Louise Gulyas to
represent the resort in Snow Hill. All indications are Martin will seek another
four-year term as well. Logic says each side of the voting block will be trying
to muster candidates to solidify their base over the summer, and it’s going to
be interesting to see who jumps in the fish bowl.

In other political news,
it’s almost official, as word is a local printing press was busy this week
running off hundreds of “Mathias For Senate” stickers.

Delegate Jim Mathias
told this paper a few months ago that it was his intention to seek the Senate
seat. Therefore, this is not a huge surprise. However, there had been some
speculation in recent weeks that this year’s legislative session may lead
Mathias to seek re-election as a delegate, rather than planning a run at the
Senate. Mathias admitted after the end of the session that he was frustrated
over the excessive political games that led to the demise of the service club
slots bill for the third straight year. Readers will recall that bill was
strangely lumped in with a card game gambling expansion piece of legislation on
the western shore late in the session.

Well, after the dust
settled, it seems Mathias has his sights set on the local Senate seat. As proof
my source is a reliable one regarding the stickers, the slogan reportedly
featured on them is, “Always Working For You.” I understand some have already
been distributed and could even be popping up on bumpers around Ocean City this
week. Campaign insiders say an official campaign announcement is expected in
less than a month.

For many years, the
accepted philosophy in Ocean City seemed to be that special events were not
necessary over holiday weekends. That’s been proven in recent history to not be
the case, and the fact is coupling a major event with a holiday weekend is a
recipe for tremendous success. Just ask the local Optimist Club how well the
annual boat show fares over Presidents Day weekend. Although that’s a winter
event, I think large-scale events held on the summer holiday weekends should be
on the calendar.

The offshore powerboat
races will again be held over the holiday weekend, and this is a good thing.
It’s no secret Memorial Day weekend is not what it once was for the area, as a
result of schools still being in session and the weather quite the unknown.
However, it’s still among the top weekends as far as crowds go for the resort,
according to toilet flushes. Whether it was a coincidence or just how the
offshore racing season’s schedule worked out, this free event to bystanders may
be something to try and build upon. Special event organizers should realize
their planned events would bode well during busy weekends particularly when the
beach and ocean may not be the draw they are in July, August and September.

It’s well known the US
Postal Service is hurting, and this fact could lead to some unfortunate changes
for this area. A study is currently underway to explore whether shuttering or
downsizing the Easton Processing and Distribution Facility and moving operations to
Baltimore would be wise. This is, of course, all about the money, as the volume
handled by the USPS continues to plumet and the need for fewer facilities and
employees arises. This study will review all operations at the Easton

Locally, a decision to move operations west would surely slow mail service

for shore residents. That fact along with other logistical concerns led U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L.

Cardin, and Congressman Frank M. Kratovil to write a letter to Postmaster
General John E. Potter regarding public information meetings on the pending
decision. They wrote, “We think it is unacceptable that the U.S. Postal Service
intends to hold only one public meeting prior to making a decision on the fate
of the facility.  Even though the facility is located in Easton, your
decision will affect the entire Eastern Shore. The Eastern Shore’s unique
geography already limits capabilities for a quick mail turn around and closing
the facility will slow down the process even more.  The residents of
Maryland’s Eastern Shore demand and deserve to have a voice in a decision that
will impact the future of the facility and mail delivery times throughout the
area. … we strongly encourage you to schedule at least one public
information meeting in each of the following cities: Easton, Chestertown,
Salisbury, and Ocean City.”

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.