Thoughts From the Publisher’s Desk

Thoughts From the Publisher’s Desk

David Fox is the man responsible for bringing the smoking on the beach and
Boardwalk issue to the forefront this summer. Although Councilwoman Margaret
Pillas, who filed for re-election officially earlier this week, was the first
to broach it publicly at the Mayor and Council meeting, it was Fox who first
spearheaded these talks with a few emails to elected officials and this
newspaper last month. He seemed to step up his quest this week with a spirited
letter to Mayor Rick Meehan. We weighed in last week with the opinion a smoking
on the Boardwalk may be a logical first step in Ocean City, but some naysayers
said this week that would simply push Boardwalk smokers to the beach, further
confounding the problem of cigarette butt litter on the beach. That’s a
worthwhile point. An insightful letter appears on the opposite page as well on
the topic.

Monday, The Baltimore Sun weighed in, saying a beach smoking ban would be

appropriate in Ocean City. The editorial read partially, “ … in the midst of such a swelling crowd, smokers are,

at best, an irritation on the order of sand flies and thunderstorms — but
represent a far more serious health hazard. They may be outdoors, but for those
trapped in the immediate vicinity, their cigarettesmoke can be noxious, and the butts
left behind give the beach the feel of a giant ashtray.” Additionally, it read,
“A ban on smoking on the beach would demonstrate that Ocean City is a place
that cares about the health and safety of its visitors. That’s a nice attribute
for a resort that has long claimed to be family friendly and would set an
example for the rest of the state.”

the worldwide high-end luxury handbag company, recently slapped a $26 million
lawsuit on 13 Boardwalk retail stores for selling counterfeit bags. The chances
of this lawsuit ever resulting in any money changes hands are slim, but it was
great to see the company allocating resources to preserve its brand and combat
illegal selling of knock-off bags. It’s no secret many Boardwalk stores sell bootleg
items. Counterfeit merchandise is available in numerous stores on a variety of
merchandise, and it’s not always easy to determine what’s authentic and what’s
not. The price tag usually tells the story, but that’s not always the case.

years ago, there were annual raids on stores seeking Oakley rip-off sunglasses
and those well-known fluorescent jackets. Hundreds of items were seized from
Boardwalk stores during these annual sting operations. Today, in general, many
of the known counterfeit examples involve T-shirt apparel because it’s fairly
easy to mimic.

It’s a
shame companies have no choice but to devote resources to this sort of thing.
However, it happens routinely. For instance, Old Guys Rule International, a
well-known surf apparel company with wares distributed far and wide, including
in local surf shops, has been the victim of some cheap counterfeiting on the
Boardwalk. As a matter of fact, after learning of a Boardwalk retailer peddling
knock-off T-shirts last summer, Old Guys Rule spokesman Kirk McBride, known
locally for his beautiful oil paintings, checked it out for himself. He found
it to be true and contacted his company’s attorney, who fired off a cease and
desist letter to the merchant that ultimately led to the bootlegging work coming
to a halt, at least temporarily.

this particular store seemed to be doing was illegally taking the trademarked
logo and simply ironing it on the front. It may not be obvious to the general
public, but I knew it immediately because it was a big front logo when Old Guys
Rule shirts feature it on left front and then a log on the back,” McBride said.
“It happens elsewhere in New Jersey and Myrtle Beach, and we just have to stay
vigilant. Usually, a cease and desist letter from our attorney in California
takes care of the situation, as it did in this particular case.”

has always been a major issue on the Boardwalk, and probably always will be,
but technology seems to be allowing it to proliferate at an even greater clip
than ever. Hopefully, last week’s Coach lawsuit will send a message to some of
the violators, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

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.