Voices From The Readers

Voices From The Readers

Court Got It Right

The decision by the Appeals Court of Maryland to allow Allstate to stop writing policies along the Atlantic Coast, while unpopular, was done for the right reason ("Court Upholds Hurricane Insurance Decision", Jan. 27).

The Maryland General Assembly’s People’s Insurance Counsel Division’s challenge, that the decision to stop writing policies along the coast was discriminatory and not based on realistic projections, chastises Allstate for taking a stronger approach towards risk management. To be over-prepared for a hurricane is better than not being prepared at all.

The reaction in the dissenting opinion made a novel argument, comparing the rarity of hurricanes in Maryland to an attack by Godzilla. Colorful arguments aside, the catastrophe models used by Allstate are widely accepted by the insurance industry while making a great effort to ensure that insurers are aware of the potential risk policyholders face along the Atlantic Coast. Hurricanes hitting the Maryland coast may be rare, but unlike Godzilla, they are a real risk that insurers and policyholders need to take into account.

Matthew Glans

(The writer is the midwest director of the Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate at The Heartland Institute.)

Yes To OC Union
I’m an Ocean City taxpayer and I say, "Yes" to the city employees wanting to unionize.
If it needs to be placed on the Oct. 16 ballot, then "put it on the ballot."

I think the city employees need protection. I don’t blame them for wanting some back up. After seeing what happened to former City Manager Dennis Dare, let the taxpayers show the city employees that we care about their needs, their job security, their future and we are willing to support their efforts by allowing them to unionize.

Priscilla Pennington-Zytkowicz
Ocean City

Enforce Noise Laws

In regards to Ocean City enforcing its existing noise ordinance on the Boardwalk, I encourage this enforcement. While at it, the city should also enforce the noise ordinance beyond the confines of the Boardwalk especially during the many motorcycle and car weekends in the spring and fall.

Every year I watch (and unfortunately hear) as the police department turns a deaf ear to the excessive noise during all hours of the day and night during these weekends. Just because these weekends bring the almighty dollar to the resort is not a good reason for the city to selectively enforce its own laws.

Speaking of the lack of enforcement, do we really think the city will also enforce the cleanup of waste should horseback riding be allowed on the beach? There’s a derogatory name for Ocean City that I have heard on occasion in which “city” is replaced with a rhyming curse word. Please, let’s not add any credence to this unflattering nickname.

Jon Kruft
Ocean City

Golf On The Decline

It is unfortunate that the OP General Manager and Board of Directors are not in touch with the world of golfing in the U.S. today as well as here in our back yard. Are they golfers themselves or just listening to the couple of hundred golf members of the Ocean Pines Golf Club?

Golf courses are closing or going Chapter 11 in record numbers. Close by there are a couple of courses with club houses in Delaware that are closed and up for sale. Nearby, two Pine Shore executive courses are closed, and another Ocean Resorts course failed and ended up in the hands of Worwick Community College. There are better and younger courses nearby Ocean Pines that are more attractive to golfers.

A recent USA Today article featured the decline of golf in the U.S., and the fact that communities and clubs are suffering as fewer take up the sport. As quoted in the article, “Golf resort communities are bleeding money and members, as the recession exposed the vulnerability of the business model that created an unbreakable linkage between golf and real estate.”

Further stated, “Fewer people play golf, and Baby Boomers don’t have the time, money, or interest in the game that their parents did. The number of golfers in the US has fallen by 13% in the past five years, according to National Golf Foundation statistics.” The number of golf rounds played nationwide was likewise down appreciably. “Nationally golf memberships have dropped by a million since the early 1990’s.” The article also states, “Resort communities are already beginning to offer fewer golf courses.”

So, why in the world would Ocean Pines ever consider continuing expensive rehabilitation of the golf course and renewal of a Golf Club building and keep on taxing property owners? Has the General Manager done his homework or is he just listening to the Golf Advisory Committee? What are other options? What about a market analysis of what the rest of the community wants? Aren’t the Board of Directors supposed to represent the community as a whole, or are they just the same political pundits we’ve come to love in the nation’s capital?

Actual financial numbers of the costs to rehabilitate the golf course, and build a new Golf Clubhouse should be shared with each property owner in simple terms; what each property owner is paying for golf management, course maintenance, course rehabilitation/ projected reserves to be used, etc. This should be the first step in deciding whether the community thinks our course is worthy of keeping. Each property owner may be surprised at what it’s costing them to support a couple hundred golf members’ habit. There are many waiting in the wings to proceed with an appropriate referendum to eliminate or change the way the golf grounds are used. Will the Board of Directors step up to the tee and require the golf course to have a balanced budget, i.e. total golf expenses limited to the actual amount of revenues earned in previous years?

Hank Meixner
Ocean Pines

Union Needed

Most people feel the upper part of city employees are paid too much, but what about the guy or girl driving the dump truck or the guy fixing the water leak or the guy that is up all night 365 days a year making sure that we have good water or the bathroom does not back up.

Just think that these people have a family and kids, and they have to drive to work and they do not live in Ocean City. The fire department and police have a contract and the city cannot change that in one meeting.

Don’t you think that the other 500 or so city employees should have the same right as the employees under a contract?

John Frank Adkins
Ocean City

Hypocrisy In Policies

Can someone please explain to me the contradictions in the Obama Administration policies? Let’s look at energy specifically for the moment.

On the one hand, President Obama extolls the virtues of the American worker (we all know this means union workers) and then he turns down the Keystone Pipeline which would carry Canadian oil to Gulf Coast refineries (creating thousands of jobs for said American workers.) Is it that these same American workers just aren’t capable of building a safe pipeline (forgetting to mention that there are currently thousands of miles of pipeline which already cris-cross the U.S.?) Is it because the act of allowing another country to refine and burn the oil keeps America safe from Global Warming?

Last year the U.S. loaned $2,000,000,000 to Petrobras (the Brazilian oil company in which George Soros is heavily invested) for offshore oil drilling. In March, President Obama visited Brazil to make a pitch for that oil on behalf of the US, stating that he wants America to be Brazil’s best customer for their oil. All the while he’s doing everything in his power to prevent American oil companies from drilling off the US coast or in the Gulf of Mexico.

And the result of these decisions? The Canadians will sell their oil to someone else. So instead of a pipeline going south to the Gulf of Mexico, they’ll build one heading west across Canada and sell the oil to China. And now we find out that barely a month after the president visited Brazil asking for their oil, the president of Brazil was off the Beijing to sign oil contracts with two Chinese state-owned companies.

Is there a reason why our president favors the Chinese oil industry over the American oil industry? Has the string of failures of the stimulus-backed alternative energy companies suggested to his mind that perhaps 2012 isn’t the year we can free ourselves from petroleum products? Are we as informed citizens going to allow the "transparent" and contradictory Obama policies to jeopardize our nation and its future?

Dr. Jef Fernley
West Ocean City