Voices From The Readers

Voices From The Readers

Proud To Support Union
I support the Town of Ocean City’s employees having collective bargaining rights.

I live in Ocean City and work for an employer in Salisbury. I do not believe that my living at the beach would be possible without the well-established work rules and wages that my union negotiated for myself and my fellow brothers and sister co-workers in my union.

I am involved in my union and have been for a number of years doing what I can to make a difference for my work group. I proudly signed the circulating petition a few months back when it was around. I am very thankful indeed to have my job and I am thankful that I am able to reside in this lovely beach town called Ocean City.

Doug Antos
Ocean City

Financial Reforms Halted
Country Club Attitude

The costs associated with hiring a new city manager and with the recently enacted financial reforms pale in comparison to the costs of years of bloated budgets and excessive hiring. The country club attitude that permeated city spending at the taxpayer’s expense (remember the fleet of employee take-home cars and the up to $20,000 per employee/per year salary increases for all department/division heads and the escalation of six figure employee salaries) was not sustainable and had to stop and it has.

For those on the council, both past and present, the mayor, and people in the administration during the spending spree years to now try to take credit for reducing government spending by millions is laughable and disingenuous. If someone sets your house on fire and then wants to take credit for putting it out, do you say thank you, job well done?

In a recent article in The Dispatch, former City Manager Dennis Dare was quoted as saying, “As a team, we were able to reduce spending by $6 million.” It should also be noted that the number of city employees has been reduced by over 100. The question is, if the city is able to provide all services and function efficiently for $6 million less and with over 100 fewer employees, why was the $6 million being spent in the first place and why did the city provide salaries and benefits so long for so many extra employees at the taxpayer’s expense?

Although the economic downturn was clearly on the horizon in 2006 when the housing bubble began to burst and the recession officially starting in 2007, the council and administration were slow to react. A city hiring freeze was enacted in 2008 but it wasn’t until 2009, two years after the recession begun, that a salary freeze was enacted (employee salaries continued to increase by millions during the recession years 2007 and 2008). The delay in implementing these cost savings initiatives cost the taxpayers additional millions.

What some on the council, the mayor and past administration failed to realize is that government spending shouldn’t rise and fall like the tide. Government should be the same size regardless of revenue or the economy. Surplus revenue should be used for essential services and infrastructure projects, not to grow government. For the mayor, former council members and some of my colleagues to continually question and criticize fiscally sound decisions intended to put Ocean City on a path for a more sustainable future is completely understandable. Their record of spending and growth in government clearly shows their philosophy about spending the taxpayer’s money.

  The old political axiom is this –Always blame the other fellow for the problems, even if you created them. Say it over and over again and continue to criticize the other guy and maybe, just maybe, enough voters will believe you. That didn’t happen in the last election and I don’t believe it will in the next one either.

Brent Ashley
Ocean City
(The writer is a member of the Ocean City Mayor and Council.)

Disappointed In Contest

I know I speak for a lot of people in voicing my disappointment in the Town of Ocean City for the way it handled the choosing of the "Ocean City Official Song of the Summer".
The idea to choose an official song of the summer was proposed by Councilman Joe Hall because he heard long-time local entertainer Tim Landers’ song "It’s A Shore Thing, Ocean City, Md,." a happy, upbeat song about Ocean City that everybody loves to sing-along to. A video was also created to go along with the song and to date has received 33,540 hits on YouTube.
The rules of the contest to choose The Song of the Summer stated that no businesses could be mentioned in the song so Tim revised his song for the contest as his song mentioned several Ocean City icons.
Out of the 55 songs submitted for the contest, three were chosen by "Ocean City’s Advertising Agency" for the public to vote on. What a bum deal for Tim Landers and the many fans of his song that his song was not even selected to be in the top three. No disrespect to the singer/songwriters of the ones chosen to be in the top three, but wouldn’t you think that Tim Landers’ song deserved a chance to be heard and voted on in the contest.
I believe the "town" showed a lot of disrespect for our own Tim Landers and his awesome Ocean City song, "It’s A Shore Thing, Ocean City, Md.”
Starr Cropper Bradford George

Smoking Ban Is Justified

There has been a lot of press lately about the ban of smoking on the beach, Boardwalk and Ocean City parks. One thing I just don’t understand is the protests from those who think that it’s “their right” to smoke on the beach because they “pay their taxes.” It’s not about “rights” and it’s not about “taxes.”

It’s about second-hand smoke and the damage it does not only to the smoker (who just doesn’t seem to care), but to those innocent people and children taking in their second hand smoke —it’s a danger to all. You may have the right to smoke (which I totally agree), you don’t have the right to harm those around you with the poison you’re spewing out. And what is it with parents who smoke around their kids on the Boardwalk? Don’t they realize that their second-hand smoke will probably adversely affect the health of their children for the rest of their lives?

I was walking on the Boardwalk today and noticed that young teenaged children were smoking too. While I smoked when I was their age, I wonder if I would I would today if I knew what I know now. I really hope they realize what they are doing to themselves. The right thing to do is to completely ban smoking from the beach, Boardwalk and parks. For the main reason of the second-hand smoke but also the gross littering of the Boardwalk. I realize there are “responsible smokers” but unfortunately, judging from the smokers I’ve seen on the Boardwalk and their litter, they aren’t spending their vacations in Ocean City.

David Murdock
Ocean City

Support Appreciated

I am writing this to say thank you to the many sponsors and supporters of the Kids Fishing Contest that was held last week.

Despite threatening weather, the Anglers Club was able to successfully have 107 kids and their families enjoy this event. Backing from the following groups and individuals in the form of funding, gifts, discounts and service was provided by the Ocean City/Berlin Optimists Club, Maryland Saltwater Sportsfishing Association, Red Sun Custom Apparel, Oyster Bay Tackle, Captain Bill Bunting-The Angler, Main Street Wealth Management, McDonald’s, Ocean Pines Association, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department. Thank you all.

Walt Boge
Ocean Pines

Gambling Questions
There is a question in this whole sixth casino mess.

When did Gov. O’Malley start being more concerned with the best interest of the mega-rich casino owners over the well-being of the citizens that elected him?

Just look at the facts. Last legislative session there were numerous tax and fee increases that affected every citizen in the state. Then there was the increase in the income tax on the "wealthy" Marylanders that earn over $100,000 a year with the governor stating that those who earn more should be willing to pay more. Now he wants to pass legislation that will give the millionaire casino owners a 25% tax deduction while we continue to pay the increases.

What happened to those with more pay more?

I would love it if one of the big three in this casino mess O’Malley, Busch or Miller would call me and explain exactly what they are thinking and why they believe the citizens of the state should continue to pay the highest tax rates in the country while they give their rich casino buddies a big break. Or if someone would explain why all of a sudden Delegate Busch decided this was a good idea and stood for the announcement.

I realize these powerful men have no time to talk with the little guy but heck I’ll even come to Annapolis and take who ever calls to lunch at Chick & Ruth’s or dinner at the Treaty of Paris.

There is a second question also with this.

If and when the sixth casino is built will the citizens of Maryland also be stuck with paying for all the slot machines like we have been for the prior three. Will we be forced to give another $6 million or so to stock the casino with 4,000 slots? Just think of all the good things that could be done in this state with that $6 million instead of blowing it on slot machines.

Please in the next week prior to the "special" session email or call your Senators and Delegates tell them there should be no tax breaks for the rich casino owners while we continue to have to pay our overly high state taxes and all those crazy high fees.

Len Bender
Ocean City

Public Hearing Important

Notices for public hearings are posted in local papers routinely to give citizens the opportunity to attend these meeting where they may learn more about zoning changes, pending legislature and many other significant issues. It also provides an opportunity to communicate their opinions on these issues. Far too often, the public does not utilize this opportunity. I would encourage Worcester County residents – and in particular, those who reside in the Ocean Pines and northern (Ocean Pines, Showell and Bishopville) election districts, to attend the public hearing scheduled for Aug. 7, 2012, at 11 am, Worcester County Government Center, Room 1101 – for confirmation of the Agenda for that date phone: 410-632-1194 on Monday August 6, 2012..

A recent article in The Courier drew attention to the proposed rezoning request for property owned by J. Burbage, located on Route 589. This property (along with all properties in Worcester County) was reviewed in the Comprehensive Plan and reviewed again in 2009-10 in the Comprehensive Rezoning Plan. In both cases, it was decided that this property was most suited to retain its agricultural zoning status. To change a zoning classification there must be one of two reasons; change in character of neighborhood or a mistake in zoning designation. I do not believe that the test has been met to support a change in taking this property from an agricultural (A-1) status to a commercial (C-2) status.

Should the rezoning occur consider that what is stated for intended use may not occur. The approved usage includes retail business, personal service businesses, restaurants, convenience stores, bars, nightclubs, general and professional offices, bowling alleys, arcades, theaters, funeral homes, veterinary clinics or kennels including outside pens and runways, gas stations and self-storage facilities. Also consider the future impact to traffic and the community surrounding this property.

I am hopeful that citizens will contact their County Commissioners to express their views and more importantly to show up at this public hearing. While minds may have already been made up, if you don’t let your opinions be known, then it will be their assumption that they acted appropriately on the behalf of their constituency.

Linda Busick