Voices From The Readers

‘Iron Fist Needed’
Your editorial of Aug. 2, 2103, titled “Iron Fist Needs to Come with Public Component” was indeed chilling and alarming. In it, you quote a long time visitor who has spent her vacations at Ocean City for many years. Your editorial stated: “Wanting to sleep with her sliding door open in her Boardwalk condominium so she could hear the ocean, she reported hearing men shouting at 2 a.m. that the Boardwalk was closed and it was now ‘our town.’ … We have heard of this happening multiple times this season.”
Really? You’ve heard of this multiple times? I’m a full-time city resident and it’s the first I heard of it. And I read your paper and other local papers every week. It’s “our town?” Who are these “men?”
This is the most disturbing example of all the crime, vandalism, lack of respect for authority, theft, drugs, burglaries, etc. which have been increasingly described and debated in Ocean City in recent years.
To call this a “wake up call” is an understatement of the highest order. I don’t care who these “men” are. I don’t care what city or state they come from, what their race or ethnicity is, or if they had an unhappy childhood. If we are going to allow this type of behavior, you might as well put a warning in all the local and regional papers that says Ocean City is no longer a family friendly resort and that you come to Ocean City at your own risk. And to think the Baltimore Sun didn’t put us on their list of 12 recommended summer Getaways. That has to be a first!
In my neighborhood, I was told by neighbors of at least two occasions this season where there were fights by groups of young men in the early morning hours right on our street. Incidents like this I haven’t heard of before in our neighborhood and I haven’t seen these incidents reported in the local papers either.
The Boardwalk incident (or as your editorial stated, it is one of “multiple incidents”), puts the mayor, the City Council and all of us on notice. Whose town is it? I am currently a fulltime resident of Ocean City. That is, as long as it remains “our town.” If it becomes somebody else’s town, “men” who parade around the Boardwalk unmolested at 2 in the morning frightening long-time visitors and residents, I doubt that many of us will still be here.
But we can solve this problem as your editorial suggests. Two o’clock curfew? More police on the Boardwalk? Some other solution? I suggest an immediate tripartite task force of city/police, business owners and citizens to address this issue now. In my opinion, waiting until the off season to address these incidents signals cowardice and a lack of honesty and transparency.
As for me, I think your editorial was half-right, I suggest that the title be shortened to “Iron Fist Needed.” That’s my “public component.”
Eric Waterman
Ocean City

OC Fixes Not As Simple
As ‘Iron Fist’ Approach
I purchased my OC Oceanfront condo in 1999.
I pay about $4,000 in property taxes every year along with probably thousands of other nonresident owners.
I don’t rent my unit, but the people who rent in my building seem to be the same family types as before.
They do the beach, the boardwalk, play miniature golf and go to the restaurants, week by week.
There has been a difference lately, and it’s not the high school seniors or the firemen.
To me, it’s the blind greed of some local business owners/politicians who would be willing to sell every square inch of Ocean City 365 days a year.
Do any of us property owners or weekly renters want Dew Tours or multiple Biker and Cruiser weekends?
How about hip hop DJ’s at the convention center?
Could we live without being the softball and soccer tournament capital of the world?
Is the entire resort becoming one big Seacrets bash?
Your paper said a lot of money was coming in to the local economy from the softball ($10M) world series and all the taxpayer had to do was pay his share of the $8,000 the city fronted for the opening ceremonies. It is that attitude (somewhat yours) that has encouraged this unrelenting influx of event people rather than beach people vacationers.
The solution may not be as simplistic as your “iron fist” approach on boardwalk rowdies, instituting smoking bans, hassling boardwalk performers or even fighting new parking meters.
I don’t even have a vote, but I’m happy as long as I look due east from my balcony.
Barry M. Unger
Accokeek and Ocean City

Good Work Appreciated
(The following letter was addressed to Editor Steve Green.)
Steve, sometimes you just need to stop what you are doing and take a moment to say thanks. That is what I would like to do this morning. 
We are fairly new condominium owners in Ocean City, even though we have vacationed in OC for years and years. The first thing we do when we come down is stop and get all the newspapers. We sit on the beach or in our condo and read them all. The purpose of this email is to tell you how very much we enjoy your newspaper, The Dispatch.
In our opinion, you and your staff do a wonderful job – your paper is clearly the best. The pictures are always awesome. Many times I share them with family and friends (this week was particularly fantastic – the ponies on the beach and the whale). And we think you are totally a “voice of reason” in your editorials and comments. Your newspaper is total quality and it always seems to just get better and better.
Also, my husband and I totally enjoy your email Dispatch updates as well as the Facebook postings.
Steve, you really do an excellent job in keeping us informed and entertained. Keep up the good work – and know that you are very much appreciated.
Carol Taylor

Trash And Crime
My family has been property owners in Ocean City, West Ocean City and I now have a home in Bishopville, since 1952. I have seen the town of Ocean City go through all types of changes and I have weathered a few changes that I was not comfortable with. Recently I said in the presence of my wife that I doubted whether I would want to move to the Ocean City when I retire. My wife looked at me in amazement and responded I don’t believe you said that, you always wanted to live full-time in the Ocean City area.
My wife’s comment made me rethink what I said and then last week when I was in Ocean City, I understood two main reasons for saying what I did. First, I was reading some reports on crime and listening to several of my friends who live in OC fulltime say that they were worried about the increasing crime. I also just read the article in the daily Buzz by Joanne Shriner on crime which substantiated my friend’s fears and my apprehensions for living in OC as well as hesitating to suggest to anyone that they should visit OC and its beautiful beach and “safe” Boardwalk.
For over 50 years, I have been championing OC over the Jersey beaches and most other places on the eastern seaboard. I would estimate I have recommended OC to hundreds of people and many of them have made OC their place for a vacation. Recently, I discovered that a number of those same people who followed my lead to OC are now going elsewhere for vacations because of high prices, congestion, crime, and trash in OC. The prices and congestion don’t bother me as much as the crime and trash factors, specially the crime.
The second factor that made me rethink retirement in OC is the trash and dirt that is evident all over OC. I wish I would have had the Mayor and Council members in my car the other day as I drove out the Ocean Gateway toward Wal-Mart. From the end of the Route 50 bridge up to, and I would assume beyond Wal-Mart, the grassy median strip that was recently cut was covered with trash and litter and as I traveled behind two cars from northern metro areas I witnessed the launching of paper and bags as they went west. Not a good first impression but a lasting one. Rt. 50 is not the only area in and around OC that is strewn with trash. The same trash might sit for days and in some areas is not picked up at all. So much for being green.
This is not just a summer travesty, but rather year-round. It may not be as bad in the Fall and Winter but disrespect for the landscape is evident even in off season months. For me, enough with the “Rodney campaign” in the northern metro regions and more time and energy should be spent on a beautifying OC campaign and, as Ms. Shriner reports, the leaders of OC doing whatever it takes to bring trash and crime under control because both are like algae and when they take hold they grow and grow.
I was born in 1952 and I must have been sitting in a stroller on 4th street watching while my family built their home in what was once a pristine and crime-free town called Ocean City. The town is a far cry from the “Ladies Resort to the Ocean” and it should be; it is still the place I want to be and would like to be when I retire. The residents of OC have charged the leaders of this town with keeping OC safe and clean. We all need to help them but they must take the lead and prioritize these two negative factors of crime and trash. To whom much is given much is required; the cost of leadership. You can mythically send out Rodney to gather all the people he can off the streets of the metro areas, but will they keep coming back to trash and crime and will OC influence them or vice versa?
With Great Love for OC,
David Gundrum
Lancaster, Pa. and Bishopville

Sponsors Recognized
The Ocean Pines Anglers Club had a very successful Kids Fishing Contest event last Saturday. We had 88 boys and girls register and they caught a total of 233 fish in the OPA South Pond.
We want to sincerely thank all those who contributed funds, supplies and support. They are Ocean City/Berlin Optimists Club, Maryland Saltwater Sportsfishing Association, Main Street Wealth Management LLC, Red Sun Custom Apparel, Oyster Bay Tackle, Sunset Marina (John Skipper), McDonalds, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Ocean Pines Association, and the Ocean Pines Fire Department.
Walt Boge
Ocean Pines