Compromise Only Answer With Performers

Mark Chase, a familiar face along the Boardwalk, has made his point.

Chase has taken umbrage with the Ocean City Mayor and Council’s plan to restrict where street performers like himself can set up shop. His offense has led to threats of legal action and a planned protest under or near the Boardwalk arch on N. Division Street.

Reached this week, he confirmed his intentions are to push the city as far as he can in the hope officials back down and change course.

“I am standing my ground basically. To have them arrest me is the only way they will get rid of me … they call us safety hazards, but there is plenty of proof to say otherwise,” he said.

Case has a valid point and we understand he has a court precedent or two in place that supports his claim.

That’s why we were immediately concerned with the city’s approach to this issue earlier this year. Officials seemed intent on regulating the street performers and all along seemingly ignoring legal reasoning to tread lightly on the matter.

The winds of compromise seem to be blowing, at least for some officials who seem to want to find some locations near the N. Division Street intersection with the Boardwalk, rather than banning them outright from the area.

Even the performers outraged over the restrictions have to understand the need for emergency vehicles to quickly access the Boardwalk and beach in the case of an emergency. N. Division Street provides a facile entry to the downtown beachfront that needs to remain clear.

A peaceful resolution to this matter needs to be figured out. Arrests, protests and verbal wars benefit neither side. There is a peaceful resolution possible here and the city and street performs simply need to find that middle ground, and it needs to be done next week before matters escalate beyond the front page of a newspaper.

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.