Voices From The Readers

Common Core:
Was It State Led?
Proponents of Common Core claim that the standards are a state-led, voluntary effort and not a national standard endorsed by the federal government. However, while these standards may have started out as a state-led effort between the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the federal government poured significant funds into a quick establishment of the Common Core.
The Race to the Top funds ($4.35 billion) and the No Child Left Behind waivers were contingent on a state’s adoption of Common Core, making a strong argument that states adopted the standards not because of the standards academic quality but because of the incentive of millions of dollars.
The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) awarded an additional $350 million to two private organizations to develop national tests that are aligned with Common Core. In the spring of 2013, the USDOE established a technical review panel whose sole purpose is to evaluate the aligned tests.
With billions of federal dollars poured into their adoption, the national tests and their review, Common Core can no longer be called a “voluntary, state-led” effort.
Rather, they are a national standard with strong financial ties to the federal
government, driving accountability to the federal level and decreasing local control.
F. Gebhart

Weighing In On
Petition Debate
Regarding the recent ads by Tony Christ and the organization of the Citizens for Ocean City, I would like to respectfully respond to the newspaper, Mr. Christ and the citizens for Ocean City.
I believe Mr. Christ has made some valid statements regarding the actions taken by the council and mayor in committing the people’s money on projects, without presenting them to the registered voting citizens of the city to determine whether or not they’ll accept and approve the expenditures.
As Mr. Christ pointed out, we the people have a right, through referendum, to express our approval or disapproval of all large expenditures. To go against this right goes against the very basic core of our democracy. Although it would be right to allow the proper sequence of authorization to take place, the sad truth is, based on the last election, very few of the registered voters will actually vote. And those that do vote many times vote based on party affiliation or friendship and closeness to certain individuals without regard to their personal or stated positions on certain matters pertaining to taxes or spending.
During the last election, we lost two council people who had the courage and principles to try to reduce the cost to the tax payers by having one of the main proponents of taxing and spending removed from office.
Since that time, the Mayor and Council have authorized the spending of our money, without taxpayer authorization, on a number of projects. The first major project before the election, but not authorized by the citizens vote, was the new library. Then came the Art Center on 94th Street. A completely new building with no financial expected return. Then there was the fishing pier. A privately owned enterprise damaged by a storm. The mayor had the audacity to claim, because it was a tourist attraction, we the people should rebuild the pier. More recently, we had the purchase and placement of parking meter throughout the area. And now we have the demolition of what appeared to be a perfectly sound fire house building with a design of a new one to be built in the same location. Finally, we now have the Convention Center.
At what point will the voting public finally become aware of these expenditures, done without their approval, and start to demand their right to have voice in these matters.
Now, of course, we have the organization of the Citizens for Ocean City (whoever they are) trying, through lies and distortion to scare the voting public (who are mostly on their side to begin with) into not signing the petition claiming it will cost taxpayers millions.
The total result of all this shows how little regard our local government has regarding the debt our nation is facing at the present time. This is not a time for small cities, which have an enormous amount of tax funds, that are unrepresented due to the fact that many of the homes in the city are 2nd homes that have no voice in how the city spends their money.
Over the years, concerned citizens have tried twice to have their taxation without representation corrected through referenda. And twice the city controllers and lawyers have found ways of not allowing these owners the right to vote on local spending issues. The reason for stopping their referenda should be obvious to the voting public.
So, Mr. Christ although you’re right in your effort to require a vote on these expenditures the net result of which would be, as it was with the recent election, a vote of agreement by the friends of the present controllers in our local government. This is how it will remain until the voting public finally wakes up to this misrepresentation. We can only hope that they will wake up before all the money is spent and we have nothing to fall back on through the difficult times that lay ahead.
Paul St. Andre
Ocean City

Concern Receive
Swift Response
I recently moved back to Berlin after nearly 40 years living in large cities in Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, China, California, and Missouri. I noticed many changes in Berlin, but one thing hasn’t changed: speeding cars on Broad Street. I’m not sure if they’re late for a tee time or afraid they’re missing the excitement in Libertytown, but these speeders are certainly in a hurry to leave town.
Another change is the addition of senior housing on Broad Street. This, plus cyclists, pedestrians (especially with pets and children) creates a potentially dangerous situation, particularly in the area west of Ann Drive without a sidewalk.
I asked Berlin Police Chief Downing if something could be done. To my pleasant surprise, within a week an additional 30 mph speed limit sign had been placed and the street restriped as a no-passing zone.
Thanks to Chief Downing and Lt. Fisher of the Berlin Police Department, and Ken Cimino and Mike Mariner of the Maryland State Highway Administration for their quick action. Their responsiveness and positive attitude reminded me once again how nice it is to live in a small town.
I sincerely hope the changes help to remind the drivers that this is a residential neighborhood and not the best place to channel their inner Jeff Gordon.
Dan Fields

Davies Saluted
If you have never seen the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, stop reading and go watch this movie immediately. It is an absolute classic and it will crystallize the thoughts in this letter.
We are fortunate enough to have one of the few, real life “George Bailys” right here in Ocean City. As you may have heard, after 37 years of running the local no-kill animal shelter, Kenille Davies, will no longer be a part of the storied history that she created and nurtured – The Worcester County Humane Society. Like George, Kenille has dedicated her life to helping others, never pausing to reflect on how many lives she has touched.
Wow. What a caring, giving and selfless person. What a wonderful life.
Not only has Kenille saved an incredible number of animals over the years, she certainly has made their lives better and the lives of the many people who were fortunate enough to be adopted by one or more of them. Moreover, the many volunteers who have worked at the shelter also have had their lives enriched by being part of it.
For 37 years, she fought for the shelter, knowing all too well the odds against a true, no-kill shelter surviving. She worked tirelessly and selflessly for the good of the animals. Yet, she never hesitated to offer help to others in need. It is truly amazing that she did this for 37 years and could probably do it for another 37 years.
It is a very difficult job. As if worrying about the basics isn’t enough – finding volunteers, getting financial resources to feed and get medical care for the animals, maintaining the facility, etc., many difficult decisions have to be made. The toughest by far are deciding when to let a sick animal “go” and approving adoptions.
It is easy to second guess these decisions or completely disagree with some of them. However, the truth is that few of us want the responsibility of deciding when it is better for a very sick / suffering animal to be put down. It is also difficult to decide when a would-be adopter be given the chance to take an animal home.
The fact is that Kenille felt these animals were part of her own family. Many of us who spent time there grew to share those feelings as well. She wholeheartedly believes that being awarded a dog is privilege. Although she could often be “conservative” about approving adoptions, hindsight tells us that her judgment was mostly right and far better than any of us could offer. She will surely be missed.
Thank you, Kenille, for the sacrifices you have made, the tireless work you have done and for making all of our lives better. Just like George Baily, you have impacted more lives than you know and have made the world a better place. We look forward to following you on your next endeavor.
What a wonderful life. What a caring, giving and selfless person. Wow.
Friends of Kenille Davies and Worcester County Humane Society