Voices From The Readers

Common Core Not

Beyond Questioning


After listening to some of the candidates for Worcester County School Board, I was struck by a pervasive theme. Not all, but a majority, have resigned themselves to no longer even questioning Common Core. The audience was informed it is nothing more than a set of standards and not to worry, we will be able to set our own curriculum. Concerning the standards, it was stated the train has left the station, and we need to deal with it. We cannot switch course or even entertain any other options. Refusing to adopt it is not financially feasible.

Do the candidates understand that these standards were not developed by educators and have unproven results? Worcester County will not be able to develop a curriculum as stated. By accepting Federal grant money, states are locked in and give up control. They are only allowed to make minor changes in course content not to exceed 15%. The remaining 85% will now be controlled by the federal government. And if the schools want to make sure they are hitting the federal goals, they will start looking hard at the 15% as well.

There are also hidden costs to consider. States are required to adopt new procedures which will significantly raise testing costs per student. Then, after a few years when everything is fully implemented, the federal grant money is set to expire. These considerable costs will be passed on to the county taxpayer to pick up the tab.

One other issue that was not addressed is that of the informational data mining of the children. There are no less than 400 data points that will be tracked for each student. These include socioeconomic status, the family’s religious affiliation and their voting status. According to a federal law, this information can be shared across multiple agencies at will.

Does the IRS targeting scandal ring a bell?

Kimberly McAllister


An Argument For

Beach Smoking Ban


According to article called “Tobacco Facts and Figures” it says Tobacco is the most leading cause to severe illnesses and death in the U.S. Not only is it hazardous to those who choose to smoke but secondhand smoke is just as lethal. People should have the right to not be exposed to it. Smoking on the beach should be banned because it causes secondhand smoke, pollution and sets a bad example for kids.

Smoking in general causes secondhand smoke which can kill you. To begin with, according to cancer.org it says there are two types of smoke mainstream and side stream; side stream is more of the cancer causing agent. Side stream is the light part at the end of a cigarette. According to the article “What Passive Smoking does to you” it says side stream smoke is 85 percent of the smoke in a room, and the rest is mainstream.

Second, over the last 50 years, two and a half million nonsmokers have died from inhaling the horrible chemicals. According to the same recent article, in the USA 42,000 deaths occurred from heart disease. Citizens should start to realize these numbers of deaths and see how it can affect their lives.

Third, not only does secondhand smoke lead to respiratory problems it can also lead to death. Secondhand smoke causes respiratory problems such as asthma attacks, and respiratory infections. Children also have common wheezing and coughing through secondhand smoke. Not only

can secondhand smoke kill you but pollution on the beach is almost as bad.

Smoking on the beach can cause a lot of pollution. First, kids play in the sand at the beach and do not want to play with cigarette butts. Little kids do not know any better and could pick it up and eat it while playing in the sand. Second, people walk around barefoot and do not want to step on the end of a cigarette. People don’t usually pay attention to what they are walking on at the beach. You could accidentally step on a recently thrown cigarette and burn your foot. According to “whalesalive.org.au,” cigarettes are the most common litter on the beach.

Third, the cigarette butts can be dangerous to wildlife. According to the recent article, when a cigarette comes in contact with a marine animal the cigarette causes false satiation, which means the animals thinks it is full and starves itself and it dies. Also from the article it says cigarettes are lethal to some fish, which means can kill them easily. For example, if the tobacco is floating around and it is digested by the fish it will die.

Pollution on the beach from smoking is terrible but smoking on the beach is also a very bad example for children. Kids should be able to have fun in an environment without bad habits and examples. First, the more kids are exposed to bad habits the more they think it is okay. Between 80,000 and 100,000 kids worldwide start smoking every day. Banning smoking in public places sends messages to children that the government does not approve.

Second, people should be setting an example to our children to promote a healthy lifestyle. By the government setting the ban, it sends a message to kids that healthy life choices are important. It is proven that children whose parents smoke are more likely to smoke. For example, 29 percent of kids’ parents smoked and they ended up smoking. Third, placing the ban makes it more inconvenient for people to smoke. Eventually, maybe this will help people quit. It will be a constant reminder to people that smoking is bad for you.

People need to be more considerate and watch out for the health of their kids and themselves and stop smoking. There are a few counter claims for many reasons. First, people have the right to do what they would like to do. It says on the constitution that the U.S. is a free country so you can do what you please to. It makes smokers feel wrong or “illegal” which they shouldn’t have to feel. Second, people would argue that it is open air that they are smoking in. Others would argue that the beach is very well generated. They would also argue that the factories and car exhausts are pollution in the air. Third, this is allowing the government a lot of power. What else won’t they choose to ban in the U.S.? It is allowing our government to control our personal choices.

Although supporting my claim is right, I also need to compromise with my arguing side.

A smoke-free beach makes time there a much happier time. People can enjoy a wholesome environment for others and their children. It can be an unpolluted natural setting with crisp beach air. Most importantly it is an environment that is hazardous to our health. How can everyone not love such an environment.

Zoe Carroll


Eminent Domain Deals

Deserve Closer Look


I am writing this letter for three reasons: First to correct an error in the paper. Second to apologize for what I said and most importantly to explain why I said it and why I defended the Kirchiros (father, mother and son) and opposed the city.

First the paper was in error when it reported, “Christ launched a salvo of expletives to no one in particular …” The facts are that I said one expletive directed to one person. I said, “Mayor, you are full of $@it.” I then promptly left the chambers unassisted.

I apologize for using a four-letter word at the council meeting to describe what the mayor is full of. That was not proper and it will not happen again.

Now, if I may, I would like to tell the citizens of Ocean City why I said the mayor was full of it. The city was using the eminent domain law to take property from the Kirchiro family for the purpose of a boat ramp. Mr. Kirchiro made it clear that he had no money to fight the city’s offer, which he considered insufficient, in court. He was from out of town and had inherited the property from his grandfather. The city’s recent offer was $20,000 for a partial taking (it may be increased) and the whole property had been valued at about $200,000 a few years ago however had declined due mostly to changes in wetland laws. When I made my comment, the Kirchiros had just complained about their inability to get adequate contact with city officials over the price.

The mayor denied the Kirchiro’s allegation and was lathering about how he and the city solicitor had acted “fairly and properly” in the matter. What rubbed me at that time about the mayor’s disingenuous demeanor was the huge overpayment these same officials had made to the adjacent property owner through an eminent domain proceeding to a local man and friend of the mayor, on June 15, 2010.

On that date Oceanbay Shopping Center Limited Partnership received a check, of $5,000,742.19, from the Town of Ocean City. An amount that even today is more than $2 million above the assessed value of the property. This premium was and still is considered excessive by many, although Mayor Meehan, Guy Ayres, Lloyd Martin, among others enumerated the merits of this huge overpayment. Rick Laws, who received the big fat city check, stated in the Salisbury paper, “I think the city is happy and we are real happy with it.” I can only wonder if Ocean City residents can be as thrilled to learn of this huge overpayment of public funds as Mr. Laws and City officials apparently were. Rick Laws is a local man as well as a personal friend of Meehan’s.

Certainly the Kirchiros are not receiving such generosity from the city’s coffers. This past, gross overpayment supported by the mayor, to the mayor’s friend, on the property next to the Kirchiros property, came to mind when the mayor was talking about propriety and fairness and caused my off-color comment. Frankly, I still believe the mayor is full of it.

The sooner the community recognizes the mayor’s actions past and present, as duplicitous and not in the best interest of Ocean City, the sooner our community can begin to recognize and reverse trends set in place by Meehan that portend an ominous, debt ridden, future with a costly declining business environment, for our sunny seaside resort.

Tony Christ

Ocean City